During the claims adjustment process, and prior to filing suit on August 20, 2008, Plaintiff provided State Farm with an affidavit of his nearby neighbor, Mr. Ziz, who witnessed the total destruction of the outbuilding and fence prior to the arrival of water.
Joseph Ziz signed his affidavit January 08, 2008, and State Farm continued to deny the Bossier’s claim over the next eight months until the Bossiers finally filed suit just a few days before the SOL on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
State Farm did not confirm Mr. Ziz’s account of the damage to the Bossier’s property until after the suit was filed. Counsel for the Bossiers attached Mr. Ziz’s affidavit to a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Dwelling Extension filed August 7, 2009, the deadline for dispositive motions in the case. (Exhibit 2)
Counsel also attached the May 11, 2009, recorded statement State Farm took of Mr. Ziz confirming his eye witness account (Exhibit 3); and Mr. Ziz’s sworn deposition testimony given July 9,2009, that confirms without contradiction his eyewitness account of the destruction of the outbuilding and fence prior to the arrival of water (Exhibit 4).
The Bossiers also filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Accidential Direct Physical Loss with a related Memorandum of Support. Sop sent all of these over just as I was finishing the post on Judge Walker’s in camera review of State Farm’s privilege log.
Thanks to a comment on the Order from eagle eye Shirley Heflin, legal secretary for Chip Merlin for 20 years before she became a full-time student, I caught an important connection that I’d missed earlier.
And my personal favorite part of this is: “The privilege claimed for all the documents reviewed by the Court is “anticipation of litigation.” … Documents prepared in the ordinary course of business are not protected as prepared in anticipation of litigation…”
If it were allowed, it would mean that State Farm was “investigating” a claim with an eye toward litigation for who knows how long? From the inception of the claim?…No, that’s not the way its supposed to be.
I pulled Walker’s Order and checked dates in a footnote to her “favorite part”.
Location of Bossier property relative to the location of the McIntosh property
1The emails are dated between March 6, 2008 and June 19, 2008
Why would Scot Spragins be corresponding with others in “anticipation of litigation” of the Bossier’s claim after State Farm was in receipt of the Ziz affidavit? What was taking place from March to June that might have caused State Farm to decide to let the Bossier claim go to litigation? Could Bossier be collateral damage? The docket for McIntosh v State Farm during the period email messages were flying suggests that possibility – and so does the location of the Bossier property relative to McIntosh. Continue reading