What’s up? What’s going down? – a quick look around at Katrina litigation

Let’s start with this update on Rigsby qui tam defendant Forensic Engineering (FAEC).  At last mention, Forensic had not obtained substitute counsel and Judge Walker had denied current counsel’s motion to withdraw. setting an April 2 deadline for submission of the Company’s designation of experts.   What’s up includes FAEC’s Joinder and Designation of Experts:

(“Forensic”)…joins in the Supplemental Combined Expert Disclosure…and Supplemental Expert Disclosures…filed by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (“State Farm”) in this matter, to the extent applicable to Plaintiffs’ claims against Forensic.

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 (a)(2), Forensic also designates John B. Kelly, P.E., as one of their experts. John B. Kelly is a Principal Structural Engineer that will opine that all the engineering reports and revised engineering reports were true and correct, and done in accordance with sound scientific/engineering principles and observation of the conditions at the site.

Forensic, of course, “reserves the right to call any expert listed, designated or called by any other Party” – and it’s safe to say there will be witnesses that offer a view contrary to that of Kelly.

What’s going down? It seems the Easter Bunny joined Santa Clause and the O’Keefe’s have now reached a settlement in Dancel Group, Inc. et al v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company et al in addition to the settlement of O’Keefe v State Farm, announced in the SLABBED post that published Christmas Eve.

What’s up with Kuehn v State Farm? Hard to tell, frankly.  In the Christmas Eve catch-all linked above, SLABBED reported the what the Kuehn’s Counsel, Earl Denham, wanted to go down.

If it occurs to you and to State Farm to do the right thing by the Kuehns, instead of the strategic thing, which you have attempted through this cynical, tardy tender, then why don’t you engage in meaningful and realistic negotiations to settle my clients’ damages instead of continuing at the Kuehns’ expense in trying to redirect the law of appraisal in Mississippi? We stand ready, as we have always been, to engage you in good faith.

What Denham got in return for his offer of “good faith” was the legal equivalent of ashes and switches, an Offer of Judgment on the 20th of January – and today State Farm filed another.  Continue reading “What’s up? What’s going down? – a quick look around at Katrina litigation”

“yo mama” Nationwide, she wants a real man like O’Leary on her side

As first evident in Politz v Nationwide, the Company’s attorneys – including those in skirts – are difficult to distinguish from a gang of thugs.  In Sunquest v Nationwide, it has become a distinction without a difference.

This past December SLABBED published Judge Senter completes his appraisal – Order says Nationwide on wrong side with objection to Lewis O’Leary and reported an Order that Judge Senter issued in the Sunquest case. More recently SLABBED provided an update on Sunquest v Nationwide in the post Chip Merlin’s “Gulf Coast case law update that ended with my saying, “I’ve read nothing in any document that indicates Lewis O’Leary is anything other than faithful – faithful to the truth”.  I still haven’t; but, before reporting on recent events in this case, a bit of background is due and, for that, we turn to the Complaint:

The Plaintiff is a corporation organized under Louisiana law with its principal place of business at 3 Bancroft Circle, Monroe, LA 71201…At all material times, the Plaintiff was an insured for the buildings and property known as Carriage House Apartments, 1625 Martin Bluff Rd., Gautier, Jackson County, Mississippi 39553 under Nationwide’s Policy No. 63BP139742004 (the “contract”)…On August 29, 2005, the contract provided multiple coverages for windstorm damage to the buildings or damage by collapse.

The contract provides for multiple coverages, including coverage for direct physical loss of, or damage to, the apartment buildings described in the contract; personal property used to maintain or service the buildings or structures on the premises; business personal property; debris removal; actual loss of business income; and other property…On August 29,2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast and caused substantial damage to the insured property… Continue reading ““yo mama” Nationwide, she wants a real man like O’Leary on her side”

Chip Merlin’s Gulf Coast case law update provides context for SLABBED update on recent developments in selected Katrina cases UPDATED

Merlin lived up to his name when, like the magician, he pulled this list of case law out of his hat, so to speak, and posted it on his blog last week – providing the context  for an update on several cases we’ve followed on SLABBED.  Case law was the focus of Merlin’s presentation at a recent Windpool Conference session for adjusters and the listed cases are those expected to “affect those adjusting claims in Gulf Coast areas outside of Florida”:

A second listing of related “practical points” followed and included, among others, two of particular interest: Continue reading “Chip Merlin’s Gulf Coast case law update provides context for SLABBED update on recent developments in selected Katrina cases UPDATED”

Judge Senter completes his appraisal – Order says Nationwide on wrong side with objection to Lewis O’Leary

Lewis O’Leary is known to SLABBED readers as the  Plaintiff’s appraiser in Kuehn v State Farm.  Consequently, we took note of Nationwide’s objection to O’Leary as the appraiser in a commercial property case and have been following  Sunquest Properties v Nationwide for some time.

Unlike State Farm’s “experts” in Bossier, Mr. O’Leary is qualified to offer testimony under related Mississippi law. Nonetheless, Nationwide wanted to get in the on the act and the “bright lights” of Nationwide legal filed a Motion to Strike Lewis O’Leary as Plaintiffs’ “Competent and Impartial” Appraiser.

… ample evidence of Mr. O’Leary’s partiality renders him unqualified to serve as a “competent and impartial appraiser,” as required by the appraisal clause in Plaintiffs’ policy. Simply put, a person who has been paid to work for several years on the development of a claim and continues to be paid to support that claim, is not sufficiently “impartial” to pass judgment of any kind upon that claim. Yet this is precisely what Plaintiffs suggest in nominating Mr. O’Leary as their purportedly “impartial” appraiser.

Judge Senter ruled on the Motion last week and Nationwide came out on the wrong side: Continue reading “Judge Senter completes his appraisal – Order says Nationwide on wrong side with objection to Lewis O’Leary”