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.
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: