In retrospect the fix was in with Obama long ago

From the Hill’s Blog Briefing Room (H/T Steve):

The Republican National Committee (RNC) sought to undermine Barack Obama’s ban on lobbyist donations to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) today by pointing out that DNC Vice Chair Lottie Shackelford is herself a registered lobbyist.

The DNC announced yesterday that it would not take donations from registered federal lobbyists or Political Action Committees (PACs), in keeping with Obama’s rule for his own campaign–a rule that was disputed by Obama’s Democratic rivals in presidential primary debates.

Shackleford is senior executive vice president of lobbying firm Global USA, Inc.; she has been a registered lobbyist with the firm since 1999. Her corporate clients include SBC Communications, Hyundai Motor Co., Kyocera Corp., Allstate Insurance, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, and Sallie Mae, Inc. Her non-corporate clients include National Public Radio, Miami-Dade County, Fla., and pro-immigration interest group United to Secure America.

Shackelford was Deputy Campaign Manager for President Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. She was elected mayor of Little Rock, Ark. in 1987 and was the first woman to serve as the city’s mayor.

In the press release it circulated about Shackelford today, the RNC accused Obama of “hypocrisy” when it comes to lobbyists and asked, “How will the DNC’s ban on lobbyist cash bring change when there are major exceptions and registered lobbyists in leadership positions?”

Merlin picks up SLABBED post on State Farm’s anti-concurrent causation language and drives the point home

Somehow  I missed this post when I went by Property Insurance Coverage Law for a read earlier today; but, I don’t want anyone else to miss how Merlin advances the discussion of anti-concurrent causation.

Sabbed posted an excellent discussion of an often missed legal point today in “Anti-concurrent causation intended to contractually overturn efficient proximate cause – according to in-house attorney for State Farm.” It notes that State Farm wrote its anti-concurrent policy for judges and how difficult it is for the layperson to decifer.

Slabbed referred to David Rossmiller’s discussion of the history of the anti-concurrent causation language. Rosmiller, as part of his analysis, cited to an in-house State Farm attorney I knew through the American Bar Association’s Property Insurance Law Subcommittee, Michael E. Bragg. Bragg wrote an article long ago, Concurrent Causation and the Art of Policy Drafting: New perils for Property Insurers, 20 Forum 385 (Spring 1985), which discussed State Farm’s attempts to draft language trying to exclude certain types of mudslides, landslides, and earth movement scenarios which gave rise to the anti-concurrent language.

Everybody reading articles from this time frame should appreciate that many of the authors were insurance counsel trying to demonize certain coverage decisions as a reason for the re-drafting of policy language. I think many authors were just trying to pander publicly to their insurance clients in these journals–my opponent and respected adversary Doug Houser being a prolific example of such prose.

Nevertheless, in his opening, Bragg noted Continue reading “Merlin picks up SLABBED post on State Farm’s anti-concurrent causation language and drives the point home”

BREAKING: The Farm sells Mississippi again. Well not quite all of Mississippi….

James Edwards Bates / The Sun Herald
James Edwards Bates / The Sun Herald. Mike Chaney pals around with State Farm claims employees

I see the coast is still being punished by the Farm and their boy Mike Chaney. I don’t think I’ll ever insure another home with a company that employs exclusive agents and highly recommend Chip Merlin’s post that Nowdy highlighted today on getting exactly what you pay for. Anita Lee has the story for the Sun Herald:

State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. will begin writing new business again in Mississippi, spokesman David Majors said Tuesday, but not in the lower three Coast counties.

State Farm has continued to serve existing policyholders, but stopped writing new business in the state because of the fractious legal and political climate after Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading “BREAKING: The Farm sells Mississippi again. Well not quite all of Mississippi….”

SLABBED Daily – June 9

Since my day started with correcting the error I made in Grit and Grocer and progressed to the webcast of Corban with no sound coming from my computer, it could be that I still have a touch of the virus that slabbed me yesterday.

With that in mind, I’ll reply on Chip Merlin for the content of today’s SLABBED Daily and link his post Is the State Farm Policy Really Worth Anything?

What is the value of insurance if it does not pay for insured losses? Imagine if you had a significant accidental water damage to your home or business, do you know whether your insurance company has your back? Will it really be there to help you? Don’t count on it. Today, modern insurance companies are re-writing their insurance policies to limit what is covered and excluding many losses that used to be covered under all-risk policies.

State Farm, as an insurance industry leader, is leading the charge of making an insurance product that no consumer should trust as providing Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – June 9”

Judge Sotomayor Insurer friendly?

Noted insurance defense lawyer Randy Maniloff (and occasional slabbed contributor) has analyzed several insurance cases Judge Sotomayor has opined upon and found some things he liked from his perspective as an insurance defense lawyer. Sotomayor “brings a long record of decisions favoring insurers”. The Insurance Journal filed the report:

The Supreme Court almost never takes up insurance related cases. Even so, President Obama’s recent nominee brings a long record of decisions favoring insurers, a possible plus for the insurance industry, said Philadelphia based insurance attorney Randy J. Maniloff.

Maniloff, who is a partner in the commercial litigation department of White and Williams LLP, said that in his review of Sonia Sotomayor’s insurance-related opinions, he discovered that she ruled “consistently, across the board in favor of insurers.”

Maniloff, who concentrates his practice in the representation of insurers, said that while he set out to review Sotomayor’s insurance decisions mostly for “fun,” he was surprised by what he found. He reviewed many insurance-related cases by Sotomayor and found that the overwhelming majority of the cases resulted in opinions considered to be favorable to insurers. Continue reading “Judge Sotomayor Insurer friendly?”

1:30pm CST live from Mississippi Supreme Court – Oral arguments in Corban v USAA

Click here to access the Mississippi Supreme Court broadcast.

The Court is hearing an Interlocutory Appeal of the Corban decision – a decision based on the application of the Fifth Circuit’s Erie guess in Leonard v Nationwide.

Anti-concurrent causation intended to contractually overturn efficient proximate cause – according to in-house attorney for State Farm

…and that I know because David Rossmiller said it was in an article he wrote on Plain English for the Spring 2008 issue of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel.

In a 1985 article about the drafting of State Farm’s anti-concurrent-cause provision, Michael E. Bragg, an in-house lawyer with the insurer, said drafters made attempts to reduce the clause to language the layperson could understand, but they failed. When the drafters made the language understandable to the average person, they considered the language insufficiently precise to do what it was intended to do, which was (1) to contractually overturn the so-called “efficient proximate cause” analysis, a common law default rule that almost all jurisdictions use to analyze first-party property loss in the absence of a different, contractually mandated analysis; and (2) to stop the spread of new, judicially created causes of loss,and confine covered causes of loss only to those that companies intended to insure. This is important to remember because it is the key to the limits of Plain English laws.

As the Bragg article shows, simplified language was unsuitably risky because it did not address the court precedents that insurers wanted to cancel out. It did not contain the terminology and phrases used by the courts, nor did it accurately state the jargon of insurance causation, where words like “concurrent” and “sequential” have meanings far different and more complicated than their meanings in common parlance. Insurers, then, do not write for consumers, they write for courts.

This revelation was written as support for the points Rossmiller makes points questioning the value of Plain English laws for consumer contracts that have been enacted in some 35 states, including Oregon. Continue reading “Anti-concurrent causation intended to contractually overturn efficient proximate cause – according to in-house attorney for State Farm”