TEXT ONLY ORDER finding as moot  Motion to Alter Judgment; finding as moot  Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law; finding as moot  Motion for New Trial; finding as moot  Motion for Taxation of Costs; finding as moot  Motion to Review; and finding as moot  Motion to Review.
All motions are rendered moot in light of the announcement by counsel for the parties that this cause of action has been fully and finally settled. NO FURTHER WRITTEN ORDER SHALL ISSUE.
Signed by District Judge L. T. Senter, Jr., on January 12, 2010.
Pursuant to Rule 50, Fed. R. Civ. P., Plaintiff moves for judgment as a matter of law on all issues concerning contract damages on the grounds that the jury did not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find in favor of Defendant….
The law is clear that when considering a Rule 50 motion, “the Court must review all of the evidence from the record, draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party, and may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.” Poliner v. Texas Health Systems, 537 F.3d 368, 376 (5th Cir. 2008). While this standard is a heavy one, in the case sub judice the evidence presented at trial compelled a finding in favor of the Plaintiff. The jury’s contrary verdict should not be allowed to stand.
This Honorable Court denied Plaintiff’s Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law after Defendant’s presentation of the evidence, but noted during the jury instruction conference that the motion probably should have been granted.
On blog and off, readers have consistently offered positive comments about Bossier’s counsel Judy Guice calling her an ethical, smart lawyer that fights for her clients. At least one has mentioned that putting clients first, not money, is what all lawyers are supposed to do.
I repeat, there was no justice, kindness or humility in Judge Walker’s orders nor any excuse for his conduct of the pre-trial discovery in Bossier…Give juries the evidence needed to make just decisions. Open court so that open court is a reality and not a lofty ideal.
“This is a public court…It belongs to the citizens. I believe in hearing everything in open court if I can.”
Federal District Judge L.T. Senter, Bossier v State Farm
Open court is not a place where Judge Senter presides. Instead, it is the envelope of the litigation process – the structural architecture holding together our system of justice for all.
Like the envelope of homes that stood against Katrina’s wind and water, not all damage to our system of justice is visible to the naked eye.
Neither was the damage to the Bossier’s home. Continuing with the analogy, tort reform and other system changes simply hide the cracks. What is needed is change that strengthens the structural architecture of the envelope, Open court – change that Judge Senter can make:
Modify the Mediation Order so that the period of mediation immediately follows the filing of a Complaint and Answer.
Improve the quality and oversight of the mediation process and require plaintiffs to attend a pre-mediation session conducted by the court that fully explains the process.
Require all motions for a protective order to fully comply with the Rules requiring specificity in the documentation of “good cause” and deny any that do not with prejudice.
Insist settlement conferences are documented with the technology used for video depositions and privately review the tapes before sealing.
Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge L. T. Senter, Jr: Jury Trial held on 11/10/2009: PHASE I COMPLETED, JURY VERDICT returned in favor of Plaintiff; Court ruled State Farm had no arguable reason for delinquency, therefore, PHASE II of JURY TRIAL TO BEGIN 11/12/09, at 1:00 P.M.; COUNSEL to reconvene in Chambers, 11/12/09, at 10:00 A.M.
I’ve been Sop’s blog partner almost two years now; and, Bossier v State Farm is one of the few cases the first case I’ve covered that has come close to trial. In fact, the only trial other than Bossier that I recall at the moment is Lisanby v USAA.
The jury’s decision is sealed; but the minute entry tells us a jury of peers heard the evidence and decided in Bossier’s favor and Judge Senter’s ruling – no arguable reason for delinquency – set the stage for Phase II.
In a written statement Monday, State Farm said “… based on the testimony of both parties, it is clear that Mr. Bossier and State Farm have different views regarding whether it was wind or storm surge that destroyed Mr. Bossier’s home.
Different views, indeed. Why else would there be a trial? It was their differing views of an expert qualified to determine cause of loss, however, that were at issue when the trial resumed yesterday.
The trial resumes at 9:30 this morning. Judge L.T. Senter Jr. is expected to rule on how extensive testimony will be from two State Farm experts, an oceanographer and Florida university professor with a doctorate in engineering.
The witnesses are not licensed engineers, so Senter must decide if they can dispute a damage report, ordered by Bossier, in which a licensed engineer concluded that wind effectively destroyed the house.
Is State Farm trying to set up a run-to-mama-Jones appeal to the Fifth Circuit? I don’t know the answer but I’d bet a slab Judge Senter is giving the possibility a great deal of thought. Whatever else one can say about State Farm aside, no one would ever suggest the Company wrote “Insurance Claims Litigation for Dummies”– so there must be a reason the State Farm defense team looks like a bunch of monkeys f*&%#$% footballs in the Bossier trial. Anita Lee reports on what took place in court Thusday for the Sun Herald in State Farm manager notes: ‘Just say no’:
State Farm attorney Ben Mullen said the Mississippi Supreme Court only recently clarified that insurance companies bear the burden to prove water caused a loss before payment is denied.
Senter corrected him, saying, “That’s been the law since 1910, counsel.”
Anita Lee – of course – has the story for the Sun Herald – and what a story it is! According to Lee, it all started when Bossier had just finished presenting evidence that he should be paid policy limits of $650,000 on his Hurricane Katrina claim.
Senter dismissed the jury, then heard State Farm’s argument that the policyholder’s case was so weak the judge should dismiss it without rebuttal from the insurance company. Senter rejected the motion, then suggested State Farm consider making an offer to policyholder Reginald “Ed” Bossier that would end the trial.