First came the wind, then the water…a look at the Spansel property

Map showing location of Spansel property

Pre-Katrina view of Spansel property showing addition and improvements made following purchase
Continue reading “First came the wind, then the water…a look at the Spansel property”

State Farm puts the Court to the test in Bossier – files nine motions in limine UPDATED

Defendants mistakenly believe that just because evidence is prejudicial it is not admissible. Not so. All relevant evidence is necessarily prejudicial.

Are we going to see yet another case gutted before trial? Obviously,  State Farm would like nothing better.  The Company filed nine motions in limine on the last day of September with trial set for little more than a month away.

Taken in the order of just how offensive the motions are to the public interest, SLABBED examines the nine starting with #7: to Preclude Testimony or Evidence Relating to Interpretation of Insurance Policy Provisions or Principles of Mississippi Law and to Exclude the Wind Water Claim Handing Protocol.

State Farm anticipates that Plaintiff may attempt to introduce testimony and/or evidence regarding a State Farm document known as the Wind Water Claim Handling Protocol… That document, however, should not be used for any purpose during the trial of Plaintiff’s claims. First, the document should not be used during the coverage phase of trial because how an adjuster investigates a claim has no bearing on what damage wind or flood caused to Plaintiff’s property or on whether those damages qualify for coverage under the plain terms of the homeowners policy.

Second, the document is also inadmissible during the later phase of trial (if any) involving claims for extra-contractual and punitive damages because (1) introducing the protocol would inject unfair prejudice against State Farm and needlessly confuse the jury by introducing a purported investigatory process alongside the controlling Mississippi investigatory standard beyond the abilityof any instruction by the Court to cure and (2) the document does not evidence bad faith or other culpable conduct. (Emphasis added – and doubled)

The following excerpt from the November 1, 2006 deposition of Stephan Hinkle, principal developer of the Protocol, provides just one of the many reasons the Court should carefully consider this motion. Continue reading “State Farm puts the Court to the test in Bossier – files nine motions in limine UPDATED”

Monkey Business – State Farm Mutual, State Farm Fire, and Rule 30(b)(6)

hear-no-evil-pictureIn its notice or subpoena, a party may name as the deponent a public or private corporation, a partnership, an association, a governmental agency, or other entity and must describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination.

The named organization must then designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or designate other persons who consent to testify on its behalf; and it may set out the matters on which each person designated will testify.

A subpoena must advise a non-party organization of its duty to make this designation. The persons designated must testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization…. Rule 30(b)(6)FRCP

When the named organization is State Farm, some think the party and the non-party are one in the same.  One who shares that view is the Administrative Law Judge who reviewed the Company’s plan to withdraw from Florida and issued a related Order :

Transactions between State Farm Mutual and State Farm Florida for reinsurance and credit risk provisions totaling approximately $561.8 million, when viewed in the light of economic reality, Subsection 1.01(3), or Section 624.04, may be transactions which State Farm Mutual engages in with itself and which lack any independent economic significance. Transactions with no independent economic significance would be sham transactions which may distort the economic costs of the reinsurance and credit risk provisions purchased from State Farm Mutual. Such economic distortions may enable the group to derive a rate advantage from the legal form in which State Farm Mutual chooses to do business in Florida. (Finding of Fact 42)

The various legal forms in which State Farm Mutual exists could be called Corporate DID:

a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a single person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment. The diagnosis requires that at least two personalities routinely take control of the individual’s behavior with an associated memory loss that goes beyond normal forgetfulness…

Litigation following Hurricane Katrina became policyholders vs Eve and Sybil as State Farm  State Farm Mutual, the Company whole, disassociated into State Farm Fire & Casualty.  Continue reading “Monkey Business – State Farm Mutual, State Farm Fire, and Rule 30(b)(6)”