The best place to hide a needle is in a haystack of needles – and, at the moment, there’s no bigger haystack of needles than the docket of the Branch Consultants qui tam case The Branch defendant insurers file a single motion as a group and, then, some or all file essentially the same motion separately. The result is the eye-crossing, mind-boggling docket that confused Magistrate Shushan to the point she thought she’d developed an enlightened perspective on the USSC Rockwell decision.
Rather than similarly embarrass myself, it seemed better to hold motions until all parties had filed – but that was before a thoughtful reader sent me the link to Liberty Mutual’s “Responsibility Project” website and I clicked on the Company’s list entitled “How Liberty Mutual is Responsible” and found the most incredible statement – “Liberty Mutual is all about doing the right thing. First and foremost for our policyholders, but also for our employees and our communities as well”.
Of course, if that were true, there would be no reason for the full-time staff member to monitor Liberty Mutual’s “wrongful claims practices” at Merlin Law! While the Company touts its commitment to “NCAA football coaches each year who embody sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility, and excellence”, it does not “walk the talk” in its own claims handling practices according to the 150,000 documents Merlin has collected and is willing to share.
Since when is it the “right thing” to ask, “In a bad economy, should jury duty be optional? Does recession trump civic duty? I can’t imagine any answer but, Never – Never is it the “right thing” to imply anything contrary to citizen responsibility for ensuring all citizens have the Constitutionally endowed right to trial by jury. Liberty Mutual apparently doesn’t agree, else the Company would not have posted Jury Duty: An Onerous Obligation?
Of course, if you’re defending a claim against citizens seeking a jury trial and convinced a judge rule contrary to established case law, there is plenty of incentive to “excuse the jury”, so to speak – and no reason for the duplicative motions filed in Branch, other than keeping the Magistrate confused enough to continue ruling in your favor.
Evidence, case in point, is found in this footnote to a recently filed Liberty Mutual Motion to Compel :
In further support of its request that Branch be compelled to disclose the facts supporting its allegations within the FAC, Liberty Mutual adopts the arguments of Defendant American National Property and Casualty Company (“ANPAC”) made in its February 9, 2010 motion to compel. See R. Doc. No. 348-1, pp. 8-12.
Liberty Mutual, collaborating – or conspiring, may be more accurate – with other insurer defendants to litter the docket and influence the Magistrate Judge, appears to believe the people’s court is “the place”:
“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What tell you three times is true.”
So, indeed, Liberty Mutual correctly claims, “This Court is intimately familiar with the procedural history and facts of this case. Branch has filed this False Claims Act (“FCA”) case alleging that various WYO insurers, including Liberty Mutual, improperly shifted damages which should have been attributable to their homeowners insurance policies to flood insurance policies backed by the U.S. Government.
Legally, the bolded text may not be an “admission” but grammatically Liberty Mutual admits the allegation in the Branch complaint; i.e., the total group of “insurers, including Liberty Mutual, improperly shifted damages which should have been attributable to their homeowners insurance policies to flood insurance policies backed by the U.S. Government.
You can say it in Latin –Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno – or say it in French – un pour tous, tous pour un – but the truth you need say only once; i.e., Liberty Mutual and other insurers acted as a group following Katrina to inflate revenue and shift damages, one for all, all for one.
Navigation was always a difficult art…
The Beaver’s best course was, no doubt, to procure
A second-hand dagger-proof coat–
So the Baker advised it– and next, to insure
Its life in some Office of note:
This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
(On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
And one Against Damage From Hail.
Judge Vance has proven more than able to close out distractions and apply both logic and related law to fact – such as the data below suggesting one of two things – “windless” hurricanes in the 2005 or a group of insurers conspiring in an inflated revenue – cost shifting scheme that let them pocket the profit and stick the NFIP with the loss:
The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted:
But the Snark, though a little aghast,
As the lawyer to whom the defense was entrusted,
Went bellowing on to the last.