The judiciary is fairly uniformly bad across the south IMHO. Tom Freeland up at North Mississippi Commenter has blogged on a particularly crooked judge in Hinds County (Jackson) and the bury the ol’ jughead up the ass attitude of the Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission on the crimes this man has committed. Well worth the read.
Those that oppose incorporation have a good legal team but those guys have a problem as Dwayne Bremer at the PPP reports:
Dickinson ordered that Kulick and his co-council, David McCarthy (sic), Chuck McRae, Oliver Diaz Jr., and Will Bardwell each file a memorandum setting forth all the facts and circumstances surrounding the lost court file.
One thing for certain folks, Tort Reform hasn’t hurt business for the skilled trial lawyers listed above. Justice Dickinson is a shoe shine boy for big business and he has quite the history on the court, including when he re-wrote hundreds of years of case law to invalidate a jury verdict in a wrongful death case that originally went against his big business friends. I’m frankly surprised the can’t shoot straight gang at the MSSC came close to getting it right in Corban.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.
“I agree whole heartedly with the SF hypocrisy on display. However, I am not aware of any rule that prohibits a witness from being both a “fact” and “expert” witness.” NRB, Comment
Since NRB appears to be an attorney and, clearly, I am not, it was State Farm’s “hypocrisy” on my mind when I wrote State Farm “dickin” around in Kentucky (part 2) – “hypocrisy” evident in State Farm paying the “substantial sum” State Farm was paying adjusters to appear as material witnesses.
Sop, as the resident CPA of SLABBED, may correct my math but, with 260 workdays in a year, the $750 per day fee State Farm paid claims adjuster Lorrie Beno to give her deposition in a Louisiana Katrina case calculates to “substantial sum” of $195,000 per year for this material witness – “substantially” more than the $150,000 consulting fee (approximately $577 per day) Dick Scruggs paid the Rigsby sisters. Not only were the Rigsby sisters paid less than the lesser-qualified Beno, their consulting arrangement resulted in the disqualification of the member and associated firms of the Katrina Litigation Group, the successor to SKG:
I have determined that disqualification is required because Scruggs, acting in furtherance of the SKG joint venture, paid the Rigsby sisters a substantial sum of money (a consulting fee of $150,000 per year) despite Scruggs’s knowledge that the Rigsby sisters were material witnesses in connection with many hurricane damage claims that were likely to become the subject of litigation…the payments to the Rigsby sisters are, in and of themselves, sufficient to warrant disqualification. Judge Senter’s April 4, 2008 Memorandum Opinion on Motion to Disqualify Members of the Katrina Litigation Group and Associated Council
Before we move to the documentation of State Farm’s compensation agreement with Beno, consider this text from a document on the McIntosh case saved in my research notes:
…payment for these activities…[attending depositions, preparing for depositions, reviewing documents and the like]…is not contrary to the case law and ethical rules, Continue reading “State Farm paid witness really well – much more than the "substantial sum" disqualifying SKG/KLG member firms (a Rigsby qui tam update)”
So, what’s up besides the Saints? Well, for starters there’s the trial of Bossier v State Farm that got underway yesterday after the jury was seated mid-afternoon. The grapevine reported there was time for opening statements (with no personal commentary re: Bossier’s motion in limine) and one witness before Court ended for the day. The second day began at 10am and hopefully I’ll get another grapevine report or there will be something in the Sun Herald.
State Farm filed an an 11th hour trial brief, but an interesting one nonetheless, that sets forth the Company’s position on the meaning of the Corban decision:
State Farm anticipates that Plaintiff at trial may attempt to satisfy his burden of proof merely by pointing to the totality of damage to his house at the conclusion of Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading “What’s the score? No, not the Saints game, I know they won – I’m talkin’ Katrina litigation and then some”
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
BLEAK LOUISIANA INSURANCE CLIMATE IN MONTHS TO COME!
There should be plenty of good news on the property insurance front, both in Louisiana and throughout the gulf south. Hurricane season is over, the third year in a row without the threat of a major storm. One would think this would be both good news and the beginning of price drops. But that’s not the case. There are bad financial storm clouds arising that bode ill for Louisiana policy holders in the coming year. Look for higher rates and less coverage. Here are some of the problem areas.
The new troubling insurance buzzword for homeowners? Chinese drywall. Thousands of Louisiana homes have been infested with defective drywall from China that was imported during the construction boom following Katrina to meet heavy demand. For reasons yet unknown, the drywall was contaminated with various sulfur compounds. This reaction causes quick metal corrosion allowing plumbing and appliances to fail. The foul odor that follows makes these homes unlivable and expensive to repair, and the defective sheetrock has to be torn out.
So you call you insurance company – right? Unfortunately, in most cases, insurance companies have been rejecting drywall claims, and even going so far as to not renew the homeowner’s policy. Property insurance companies, particularly in Louisiana, argue that drywall damage was not a “sudden event” like wind damage or flooding. Since 1984, insurance companies have been adding “pollution exclusion” to all their homeowner policies, stating that no coverage exists when a pollutant cases damage. Drywall problems, according to the insurance industry, cause damage over a period of time, and therefore the homeowner should have taken action for damage control.
This is not supposed to be the case in Louisiana. The Louisiana Insurance Department, back in the late 1990s, specifically defined the scope of such exclusion more narrowly than most states and allowed it to be applied “only to those injuries or damage caused by environmental pollution.” Simply put, nothing like drywall damage should be excluded, said the Insurance Commissioner at that time (obviously, a pretty bright guy). The Louisiana Supreme Court followed the Insurance department’s reasoning in the landmark case of Doerr v. Mobil Oil Corp. in 2000. Continue reading “Jim Brown on Chinese Drywall, the Pollution Exclusion and Corban”
As I’ve said in prior posts, I firmly believe Americans can no longer claim we’re “a government of laws not of men” as John Adams, our 2nd US President once pronounced. Adams’ words came to epitomize the venerable “rule of law” in America. In his era, the critical debate was “rule of law” vs. “rule of man.” The prospect that America might become “a government of men not of laws,” is exactly what Adams and our founders feared most, and warned us to stay away from. In their day, “rule of man” referred to the British King George III, who . . . well, just take a look for yourself:
In 1776, the year of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine anonymously wrote a pamphlet titled Common Sense which stated: “in America, the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.” Adams, a contemporary of Paine, expounded on Paine’s Common Sense, and made sure the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 included the words “a government of laws not of men.”
In Adams’ and Paine’s day, the King was law, and he served no one except himself. Today, billionaire monopolies are the “King makers.” By purchasing our legislatures, individual judges and elected officials, they bastardize “the rule of law.” Their aim is make America a government of men, not law. This is what happens every day in Latin America, and why we call them “third world.” If we acquiesce, and accept their bastardization of America’s founding premise, we’re right back where we started in 1776. Put another way:
we cannot let this ↓ Continue reading “The Price We Pay For “Pro-Business” Courts”
Anita Lee’s story on Corban is here with commentary from head III shill Robert Hartwig himself (picture found here). The bottom line per Judy Guice:
“To me, this was always much more than just a business issue. This was a personal issue to me. Getting the law straight was really one of the critical parts of my recovery and I’m relieved that has now happened.
“The overwhelming feeling I have right now is relief that our children and grandchildren, and everybody else who had to suffer like we’ve all suffered since Hurricane Katrina, will not be stuck with the harsh law, the incorrect law that was previously created and has now been corrected by our Mississippi Supreme Court.”
Chip Merlin has written a series of 3 posts on Corban which address all the fine points of the decision. This is from Part 2:
This ruling confirms State Farm’s Wind/Water Protocol is the wrong test under Mississippi law because it improperly shifted the burden upon the policyholder to prove that the wind caused the damage rather than the insurer having to prove that the damage was excluded. Corban undermines the Fifth Circuit reversal of Judge Senter in Broussard vs. State Farm and as I suggested in Broussard’s Bad Faith Decision Impaired by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
There is one important mistake the Court did make in its decision when it held: Continue reading “Reaction to Corban Ripple Across the Media”
I won’t keep you waiting while I compose a post. The Mississippi Supreme Court, with all Justices concurring, has issued its decision in Corban v USAA .
Another great Bam Bam post and once again I am thinking about our supremely slow Supremes, Corban v USAA and counting by the calendar again – empty handed for the 15th Thursday following Oral Arguments.
It was not as if I had forgotten about Corban; but Bam – a virus called anti-concurrent cause – Bam – the ACC virus continued – and I’m thinking Corban every day and not just on hand-down Thursday.
You’d think after Nationwide spilled the beans, the Supremes would be in a hurry to protect policyholders with cases still in litigation; but, then again, maybe they think with all the beans on the table, it’s such a no-brainer they can take their time.
One justice asked Nationwide whether ACC would exclude coverage in a case where a home was 95% destroyed by wind before any flooding…According to…[Nationwide]…it does not matter what actually caused the damage. If the subsequent flooding would have caused it, the damage is covered by NFIP and not Nationwide.
On the other hand, the Supremes may be like Nationwide’s policyholders – in a state of shock after learning Nationwide is on Nationwide’s side. Continue reading “Corban v USAA – counting by the calendar”