The Fifth Circuit Gets One Right: Dickerson v Lexington

After butchering the concept of the Anti Concurrent Clause in Leonard v Nationwide and the concept of punis in Broussard v State Farm, the third time was the charm with the Fifth Circuit in Dickerson v Lexington. A big slabbed congratulations to Soren Gisleson and the Dickerson family. I wonder if AIG will be paying this judgement out of the TARP fund LOL. Here is a link to the decision by the Fifth Cirucit.

This blurb sums up why all a good lawyer needs to litigate these cases is some wind damage, a good expert and in the case of the Farm the wind water protocol:

Dickerson’s bad faith claim hinges on the undisputed timing of Lexington’s first inspection and payment. Dickerson had reported the damage to the insured property in mid-September of 2005, and Lexington had sent an adjuster to inspect the damage on October 1, a month after Katrina. A report based on this inspection was sent to Lexington no later than November, yet no payment was made. Another report was sent to Lexington (apparently by the same claims adjuster) on February 4, 2006. Although Lexington representatives took the position that the second report corrected a “mistake” in the November report, we have found no explanation in the record for why Dickerson could not have been compensated in the interim. Indeed, Lexington’s attorney stated at trial that he had no explanation for the five-month delay. Continue reading “The Fifth Circuit Gets One Right: Dickerson v Lexington”

Gagne v State Farm – an update

It’s been several tomorrows since the “tomorrow” I intended to post more about Gagne v State Farm – but “tis the season” for things that don’t go exactly as planned.

In the post that I put up the day before “yesterdays” ago, I quoted Judge Senter’s comment in the Order – for all practical purposes…[Gagne v State Farm]… is the only remaining insurance dispute between a homeowner and his insurance carrier filed in this Court in 2006. Obviously, we were already several years of tomorrows behind on this case so, I’m starting with background and then shifting to the two most recent items on the docket.

If you followed the link to the amended Complaint in the previous post, you saw that the Gagne property became a three-ring engineering circus post Katrina – comparable IMO to the three-ring adjusting circus at the heart of Payment v State Farm.

Gagne’s initial complaint was filed July 21, 2006 – a date that allows for a different perspective on various aspects of Katrina litigation such as this perspective on the mediation of State Farm claims:

…if State Farm successfully bullies its way home with…[mediation]…it, allows State Farm to earn interest on the monies State Farm should be dispensing to its policyholders as a reward for its unethical behavior. It also conveniently allows them to economically blackmail the good people of Mississippi so they will have “their mind right” when the leave their FEMA trailer or temporary abode and appear at State Farm’s proclaimed “only option for hurricane related claims” mediation session. The final bonus to State Farm and the obvious goal of their calculated and unethical corporate policy is that at mediation they can consolidate that unfair economic advantage, strike an “arm’s length deal” with a weakened adversary and face no recourse.

Contrast this with what happens if State Farm attempts to consolidate an unfair economic advantage during the adjustment process. A bad faith estimate designed to create an unfair economic advantage during the adjustment process will subject State Farm to the penalties associated with a breach of fiduciary duty to their insured, as well as bad faith and unfair dealing claims, unless… the insured gets frustrated and desperate and consents to cents on the dollar at a subsequent mediation.

The ruse that insurance companies are being forced to mediate by the strong armed will of the insurance commissioner is an insult to the thinking people of this state. Poor defenseless State Farm screaming all the way to an “arm’s length” deal with a bloodied citizen (that they have beaten down emotionally and economically) “please don’t through me in the briar patch.” State Farm is afraid of a fair playing field and is using economic blackmail and bad faith adjusting of homeowners’ claims in a frantic and unethical attempt to avoid a forum where they will be held responsible for their failure to meet even the minimum standards of good faith as an insurer in this State.

The insurance commission is either aiding them through intense ignorance, incompetence or outright collusion. As the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live would say, “How convenient!”(emphasis added to note that this is first SNL quote I’ve posted from a brief) Continue reading “Gagne v State Farm – an update”