Following Frontline – view evidence of a false NFIP claim

katrina_road_homeMike Wells was the adjuster assigned to the Allstate claim of Robert Weiss.   Dr. and Mrs. Weiss disputed the results and subsequently filed suit.

Weiss versus Allstate became one of the landmark Katrina insurance cases in its verdict; but, a closer look at the trial testimony reveals even more startling facts.

Read an excerpt from the transcript <> with Wells denying he prepared the Weiss claim <> and confirming the information Allstate submitted to the federal government (NFIP) was false.  If Wells did not complete these federal forms, who did?

Are our readers curious as to why this $250,000 theft has not been prosecuted or even investigated while Mississippi and Louisiana residents are being prosecuted for wrongly accepting $1,000-$2,000 FEMA checks?

SLABBED got a tip that some of these answers will be be available in the next few days if we follow Frontline to <> for a more in depth review of the insurance factors in the post-Katrina recovery.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” – the “expert witnesses” of Gagne v State Farm

There is seldom such a thing as an absolute truth.  Everything we see and hear causes us to come to a conclusion about what we have seen or heard based upon our own experiences up to that point.

I thought I’d start the day by cutting my “to-post” list in half by grouping  the various responses on motions related to the testimony of and reports from expert witnesses in Gagne v State Farm – and introduced the subject with a quote that offers my I’m-not-a-lawyer understanding of what an expert opinion provides.

Each of these Responses, however, relies in some fashion on the understanding of the requirements established under and/or expanded from Daubert, quoted here from Gagne’s response re: Wiggins:

Experts are not required to establish scientific certainty or any particular level of certainty for their opinions to be admissible under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc…It is only necessary for the opinion be sufficiently reliable to have a tendency to make the existence of any fact of consequence more probable or less probable than it would be without the expert opinion. See Tug Danielle M. Bouchard v. Oryx Energy Co…

Defendant State Farm wants the Court to exclude the testimony and/or reports produced in support of Gagne by Jerry Wiggins, Richard Henning, Michael Dombrowski, Donald Dinsmore, and E. J. Dennis – five total – oops, make that six – and last but by no means least, Neil Hall.

Plaintiff Gagne, on the other hand, wants the Court to exclude the testimony and opinions not fully disclosed of State Farm’s expert Dr. Robert Dean.

In other words, pour yourself another cup of coffee and settle in for what can not be a quick read.

Let’s start with the one that just blew me away – Gagne’s Response to State Farm’s motion to exclude the testimony and report of replacement cost expert Jerry Wiggins – and what blew me away.  Wiggins used Xactimate to calculate replacement cost –  creating what Times-Picayune reporter Rebecca Mowbray might call  same house, same software, different result and what I call evidence of the Scheme. Continue reading ““We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” – the “expert witnesses” of Gagne v State Farm”

Teasers for the Old Man and the Storm (Updated)

Nowdy promoted the program here. We have now learned some friends of the slabbed may make in on air. Here are some teasers:



[youtube=] Continue reading “Teasers for the Old Man and the Storm (Updated)”

More to come from Gagne v State Farm

At this point, I’m beginning to understand why Gagne appeared to be “all over the place” – even to Judge Senter, if you recall our first post on the case in mid-December.

It’s evident a great deal of thought went into the dozen responses to motions I pulled from Pacer tonight – ten from Gagne and two from State Farm.  All deserve more than a lick and a promise post; but, thus far, I’ve completed only the one post on Gagne’s response to the two motions to exclude evidence of out-of-state conduct.

I’ll cover the remaining ten as quickly as possible, grouping them when appropriate.   Several have significance beyond Gagne v State Farm and it has been necessary to go back into the Docket and pull related documents to provide a complete picture.

In addition to the twelve responses, there was a Gagne motion to dismiss the following defendants: Steve Shekerlian, Calvin Thomas, John Osteraas, and Thomas & Luth, Inc.

Also on the Docket were these two notices: NOTICE of Service of Response to Request for Production by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company; and, NOTICE of Service of Response to Interrogatories by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company.

One last word,  Old Man and the Storm tonight on Frontline!

“Influence and Persuasion” applied – Gagne responds to State Farm’s motion to exclude out-of-state conduct

OMG, now I do see it!  Influence and Persuasion – Gagne’s ten-page Response in Opposition to State Farm’s Motion to Exclude Evidence of Our-of-State Conduct

  • Compassion is the ability to understand and relate an issue from the viewpoint of the person you are trying to persuade.

Plaintiff respectfully suggests that motion practice and the pretrial process were designed to, and will, narrow the issues and potential evidence that may be admissible… The dispositive motion phase of this proceeding will further narrow the issues in that claims may be confessed or dismissed by the Court. Such typical procedural events could make this type of evidence irrelevant to the remaining proceedings and render the Campbell analysis unnecessary and moot.

Furthermore, the settlement conference scheduled for January 21, 2009 could make such detailed and voluminous analysis unnecessary.

  • Authenticity is the ability to be “real” with another human. You have to be honest with the facts and how the law applies to those facts.

State Farm’s motion makes several arguments about the dangers of out of state conduct being used in a case in chief. Plaintiff concedes that other than in rare instances such as where like conduct would impeach sworn testimony, it is generally inadmissible. Continue reading ““Influence and Persuasion” applied – Gagne responds to State Farm’s motion to exclude out-of-state conduct”

What was that – a Katrina recovery activist or FBI mole?

road-runner-2Both – according to yesterday’s story in the NYT that revealed the road-running activist traveled from New Orleans to Austin and, eventually, St. Paul where two men have been jailed since the Republican National Convention.

When the scheduled federal trial begins this month for two Texas men who were arrested during the Republican National Convention on charges of making and possessing Molotov cocktails, one of the major witnesses against them will be a community activist who acted as a government informant.

Brandon Darby, an organizer from Austin, Tex., made the news public himself, announcing in an open letter posted on Dec. 30 on that he had worked as an informant, most recently at last year’s Republican convention in St. Paul.

“The simple truth is that I have chosen to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” wrote Mr. Darby, who gained prominence as a member of Common Ground Relief, a group that helped victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans…

A similar story appeared a few days earlier in the Texas Monthly, Life’s a Snitch: Austin activist admits he infiltrated RNC protest group.

A well-known Austin activist fingered as an FBI informant has acknowledged that he provided information leading to the arrest and felony indictment of two Austin men who participated in protests last September at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN…

Darby’s activist network stretches from Austin to New Orleans, where he co-founded Common Ground Relief, a grassroots reconstruction effort that drew thousands of volunteers from around the country. In 2004, he helped organize and was arrested during anti-Halliburton protests in Houston. His letter suggests that he disagreed with tactics some members of the Austin Area Affinity Group planned to use to disrupt the Republican Convention. Darby was a member of the group…(emphasis added) Continue reading “What was that – a Katrina recovery activist or FBI mole?”