Breaking News – Gagne v State Farm settled today!

After lengthy negotiations, case settled at the conference. Judge Senter will enter the closing order.

As the minute entry on PACER suggests, with the requested specificity in hand, Judge Walker hosted a rousing settlement conference today!

The settlement leaves some important questions unanswered but still on the table; but, more about those later asI have no doubt Gagne was satisfied given the published position on settlement authored by co-counsel Chip Merlin and the obvious merit of Gagne’s claim:

Many may question why I would want a fair resolution rather than a killing for our clients. The answer is simple–I virtually never buy or settle anything at an unfair price to me. Thus, why would another individual do the same? However, I may pay dearly for something with a lot of value. And most of our cases, if they truly have merit, are litigated so that they are very valuable. The insurance company may have a hard time accepting that fact of value as any buyer of a valuable article. But, if it is fair and based on an authentic evaluation of the facts and law, what some on the outside of a case may see as a huge amount of money paid for a case is actually a fair amount to the participants.

Following the conference, Judge Senter turned the lights out with a Judgment of Dismissal already posted on PACER.

This cause comes before the Court sua sponte, the parties having announced that they have reached  and settlement to all pending claims in this matter.  Accordingly, the Court being desirous of removing this matter from its docket; IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that this action be, and it is hereby dismissed with prejudice with each party to bear its own costs.

Earlier in the day, Judge Senter entered an Order granting Gange’s motion for partial dismissal – leaving only State Farm and Exponent as defendants and parties to the settlement.

In …[previous]…Order granting in part and denying in part the Motion to Dismiss filed by the parties known collectively as the “engineering defendants,” this Court allowed Plaintiff’s cause of action against these defendants…[Calvin Thomas; Exponent, Inc.; John D. Osteraas; Steven Shekerlian and Thomas & Luth, Inc.]… to go forward, but did not eliminate the ultimate possibility of relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.

After a significant amount of discovery, as reflected by the docket sheet, the engineering defendants filed motions for summary judgment…These same defendants also joined in several motions filed by defendant State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (State Farm)…

On December 22, 2008, Plaintiff received an extension of time to file responses to almost all pending motions. On December 29, Plaintiff filed a [486] Motion to Dismiss engineering defendants Shekerlian, Thomas, Osteraas, and Thomas & Luth, Inc., and the next day filed a [489] response to engineering defendant Exponent, Inc.’s [426] Motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiff neither cites authority nor offers argument for his [486] motion to dismiss. It is presumed that Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2) is the source of the request for relief, since subsection (a)(1) does not apply. While not explaining the reasons for his motion, Plaintiff at least seeks dismissal with prejudice. The affected Defendants have not replied to Plaintiff’s request to dismiss them. See Uniform Local Rule 7.2(C)(2) (“If a party fails to respond to any motion, other than a motion for summary judgment, within the time allotted, the court may grant the motion as unopposed.”).

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED: Plaintiff’s  Motion to Dismiss all claims against Defendants Steven Shekerlian, John Osteraas, Calvin Thomas, and Thomas & Luth, Inc. is GRANTED, and all claims arising from this cause of action against said Defendants are hereby DISMISSED, WITH PREJUDICE…

Gagne filed some of the most interesting motions I’ve read to date.  I learned a lot and will end with a thank you and the hope that others learned as well.

5 thoughts on “Breaking News – Gagne v State Farm settled today!”

  1. Wow, I hope all of the notes on how to adjust a slab claim and the revisions to the engineering report were not sealed, if they even were produced.

  2. I doubt they were ever presented Rick. That way the authorities can still pretend it never happened.

    If a contractor had taken someone’s money and then drug around for three years before performing there would be handcuff’s involved in the equation. Not so on the Farm.

    With Senter’s ruling on the doc review, State Farm’s Gagne house of cards crashed and burned faster than the stock market imploded last September. The sunshine we provide on this despicable corporate behavior is a wonderful disinfectant.

    Our congratulations to the Gagnes for sticking this out the 41 months it took to make State Farm honor it’s contractual obligations.


  3. I tend to agree, Sop. In fact, I believe the production of those notes was the issue the drove the settlement. Judge Walker definitely had the upper hand going into the settlement conference and I see every indication that he played it.

    When Walker saw the requests written with specificity, I feel certain he realized he was reading “specificity” for the third time – but with everything else removed it was much easier to see. In other words, State Farm had publicly “slabbed” him again, just like they did over the deposition of Scruggs.

    Given the motions Walker/Senter had not decided, I suspect Gagne received more than just a satisfactory settlement.

    Gagne’s Motion for ruling on the effect of cashing NFIP check, for example, is still on the table.

    Gagne was going to win that one IMO and it’s a “game changer” – and one change that’s coming just delayed by the settlement.

  4. What a lift you’ve given a day that started with a two-Aleve read of Judge Acker’s opinion-order!

    It doesn’t always happen; but, I could sense Gagne’s commitment to helping others as I read the case documents and Dr. Payment’s as well when I was posting his case. I understand Dr. Weiss (Weiss v Allstate, Louisiana) had that same sense of justice for all. They and others like them are very much the heroes of the legal war that has followed Katrina as are the Rigsby sisters.

    Change is coming – and it’s because of those who have proven it’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog.

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