Nationwide shows its a$$ in Politz v Nationwide

A bit of  background on Nationwide’s latest assault on Mrs. Politz; but, first an introduction to Mrs. Politz for any new readers:

Mrs. Politz, who is sixty-seven years old, has lost everything she owned, has moved three times since Hurricane Katrina, undergone open-heart surgery, taken care of her terminally ill husband until he ultimately died during this litigation, and has had to come out of retirement and go back to work to make ends meet due to Nationwide’s denial of her claim…

In addition to payment on lost and/or damaged property, Mrs. Politz claims Nationwide’s handling of her claim has caused her physical and emotional distress. However – and this is important – Judge Senter issued an Order limiting this aspect of Mrs. Politz’s claim.

While Mrs. Politz may, in good faith, have the subjective belief that Nationwide’s refusal of her claim for storm damage contributed to her heart condition and to her “depression,” I will not permit her to express that belief in the absence of corroborating medical testimony.

Any discussion of mental or emotional distress will be excluded from evidence during the first phase of this trial when the issue of contract damages alone will be decided…I will limit the evidence that will be admitted in support of the plaintiffs’ claims for emotional distress.

Counsel for Mrs. Politz sought and Judge Senter provided Clarification of the Order with additional detail on the limitations he was placing on related testimony:

While she will not be permitted to testify to any medical diagnosis not established by competent medical evidence, she will be permitted to express the subjective experiences she had as a result of the events at issue. If Politz’s testimony and other evidence submitted in support of her claim for emotional distress and mental anguish meet the two criteria established in University of Southern Mississippi v. Williams…she will be entitled to submit this claim for the consideration of the jury under proper instructions.

First of all, I can’t imagine anyone other than Nationwide looking at the docket documenting the Company’s handling of the Politz claim and expecting a policyholder would not suffer related physical and emotional distress – and, frankly, I expect Nationwide realizes how far they went beyond “reasonable”.

Nonetheless, the Company seems intent on proving just how unreasonable it can be – as if there is some prize awarded for being the bitch of Katrina litigation that drives policyholders to an early grave.

Only the bitch of Katrina litigation would file a Motion for Mental Examination of Plaintiff Pursuant to FRCP35.

Of course, only Nationwide, the bitch of Katrina litigation, would file motions to expedite deadlines for the newly ordered 60-day period of Discovery or 14 Motions in limine or employ these and other strategies designed to increase the pressure on a 67-year-old policyholder who had thus far survived Katrina, three moves, the loss of her husband, open-heart surgery and post-retirement employment.

No one other than the bitch of Katrina litigation would ignore the evidence that Mrs. Politz accepted Judge Senter’s limitations on her testimony rather than seek the medical opinions that would have prevented the lack of same from becoming an issue.

Mrs. Politz has not filed a Response – although with the expedited deadlines, she will in a matter of days – and, Judge Senter must grant Nationwide’s motion for the examination to actually take place.

The application of justice and law do not necessarily produce the same end.  If they did, in this case it would be Nationwide ordered to complete a mental examination as no sane person could justify the way the bitch of Katrina litigation has treated Mrs. Politz during the handling of her claim and resulting litigation.

More information on Nationwide’s handling of the Politz claim:

SLABBED Daily – May 19 (O’Keefe and Politz update)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Nationwide (riding a broom) – Politz v Nationwide

The Corban Conundrum: The elephant in the room (updated)

SLABBED Daily – April 29 (Politz, O’Keefe, Rigsby, Minor)

On your side – not if you’re Helen Politz: Politz v Nationwide

Katrina insurance litigation – selected Nationwide and State Farm cases

8 thoughts on “Nationwide shows its a$$ in Politz v Nationwide”

  1. Judge Senter has been very fair in his decisions thus far and I have no reason to think he won’t continue to be. I would like to have been a fly on the wall at the pre-trial conference as I wonder why he ordered more discovery.

  2. To nowdoucit: Within the last year, the Fifth “Circus” ruled in a Louisiana insurance case that a plaintiff was competent to testify concerning the mental anguish and emotional distress he suffered as a result of “arbitrary and capricious” conduct by his insurance company. This is what I had in mind when I criticized Judge Senter. If I had the opportunity, I would tell him so to his face. I no longer have any respect for people who wear black robes, and Society would be wise to question, publicly, EVERYTHING they say or do. What does “His Honor” want, for Ms. Politz to die before the trial, so maybe the forensic pathologist who performs the autopsy can testify about the anxiety, depression and stress she suffered, manifesting in physical symptoms? Sorry Judge Senter, but you need to take a step back and apply some plain old common sense before you issue a ruling. This poor woman won’t live to enjoy any of the monetary award to which she is legally entitled.

  3. The Judge would find it hard to remove his head from where it is at the moment. There are no less than 4 judges with the same problem. See these judges have their heads up the systems ass and when one try’s to pull out it gets hung up on the others asses. I mean judges.


  4. I submitted a “comment” yesterday that has not yet been posted. The Louisiana case I was thinking of is “Dickerson v. Lexington Insurance Company”, decided by the Fifth “Circus” on 1/21/09. That case held, in part, that a plaintiff, such as Ms. Politz, is competent under Louisiana law to offer testimony in support of a claim for mental anguish against a property insurer under LSA-R.S. 22:1220, even in the absence of medical evidence, such as that being demanded of Ms. Politz by Judge Senter.

  5. Found your comment in the spam filter, Ashton, and fished it out.

    Judge Senter is allowing Mrs. Politz to testify about the “mental and physical” distress she has experienced – just not in medical terms. In other words, she can say she was depressed but not “clinically depressed” as there was no diagnosis.

    His order clarifying his intent appeared to follow Mississippi law to the letter.

  6. Sorry for belaboring this (one can tell that I “have a lot to do”), but (1) I am not an expert on Missisippi law, and (2) The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta has published something called the “Mental Health Survey Instrument”, which someone might want to bring to the attention of Ms. Politz’s lawyers (for consideration by Judge Senter). Obviously, the “victim”, not his or her “health care professionals” must complete the Mental Health Survey Instrument for the CDC, a Federal agency. If it’s good enough for the CDC, then it ought to be good enough for Judge Senter and for Nationwide.

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