party games – State Farm plays spin the bottle with O’Keefe v State Farm – Magistrate Judge Anderson takes a spin that kisses Mutual and brings it in

Both O’Keefe and State Farm began this past week with significant motions in play.  On Monday, SLABBED published It’s going to happen, a post on State Farm’s opposition to O’Keefe’s motion requesting reconsideration of the Court’s decision denying the plaintiffs’ request to include State Farm Mutual as a defendant.

Meanwhile, another dispute was taking place off-docket

Simply stated, the number  of discovery requests each party would be allowed to serve – a matter the Court decided this past July – or so it thought became a party game to State Farm.  A reading of the related briefs and orders indicates it became a game of spin the bottle.

Spin the bottle. Land on the issue driving O’Keefe’s motion to alter and/or amend the findings of the Court’s judgment re: No one knows what goes on behind closed doors:

Plaintiffs respectfully submit that, in light of the facts placed before the Court in support of Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend to add State Farm Mutual as a party Defendant…

Spin the bottle. Land on the claim made in State Farm’s opposition linked in the post It’s going to happen:

There is simply no legitimate purpose to add State Farm Mutual to this lawsuit and there is certainly no ground to reconsider the Court’s September 3, 2009 order. (emphasis added)

Spin the bottle. Land somewhere previously not mentioned on SLABBED – National Association of State Farm Agents v State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company:

Provisions of the Agent Agreement that are of particular interest are as follows:

The agents’ duties are described in broad terms:

The Agent will solicit applications for insurance, collect premiums, fees and charges, countersign and deliver policies, reinstate and transfer insurance, assist policyholders and cooperate with adjusters in reporting and handling claims, avoid conflicts of interest, comply with all laws and regulations, and cooperate with and advance the interests of the Companies, the agents, and the policyholders…

State Farm retains the right to prescribe policy forms and provisions and other procedures:

We retain the right to prescribe: all policy forms and provisions; premiums, fees, and charges for insurance and services; rules governing the binding, acceptance, renewal rejection, or cancellation of risks, and adjustment and payment of losses; and limitations on the submissions of applications by individual agent, by market area, by line of coverage, by policy type, by Company, or by other means.

Spin the bottle. Land on defendant Marshall Eleuterius;

The Defendant Mr. Marshall J. Eleuterius is an agent for State Farm. Mr. Eleuterius, individually, and as an employee/agent of State Farm Insurance can be served with process at 414 Security Square, Gulfport, Mississippi 39057.

Spin the bottle. Land on the affidavit of David Swift, President of the National Association of State Farm Agents:

While State Farm sells a variety of insurance policies, the two primary categories of insurance policies that Agents sell are automobile insurance policies and fire insurance (also referred to as homeowner’s insurance) policies.

Spin the bottle.  Land on the Order of Magistrate Judge Linda Anderson denying O’Keefe’s Motion to Quash:

Defendants Eleuterius and/or State Farm may use the remaining interrogatories and requests for production that have not been utilized as long as no Plaintiff [Celeste and Daniel O’Keefe as one, Dancel Group as another] has more than 45 interrogatories and requests for
production served on them.

Time to turn the lights on.  Now, do you see it?

  • Eleuterius contracts with and is an agent for State Farm Mutual.
  • State Farm Fire exceeds the allowable number of interrogatories and requests by using those allocated to Eleuterius who sold the subject policy as an agent of State Farm Mutual.
  • Magistrate Judge plant a smacker on State Farm Mutual with an Order that recognizes Eleuterius as a separate party from State Farm Fire.
  • Keefe now has 45 additional interogatories compliments of State Farm Fire also insisting Dancel is a separate party.

You’re playing with Fire if you kiss and tell when playing spin the bottle.

h/t and thank you to Steve for his research assistance!

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