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”

We will not now allow defendant to raise as a defense plaintiff’s failure to perform an act which defendant itself greatly hindered plaintiff from performing

Admittedly, I can’t hold my own with the comments here and here on SLABBED this morning; but, I’ve read about  plaintiffs that were hindered from performing the act and just plain f%*&@#.

I’ll also admit that I lifted the title from a line in Merlin’s new post and that Fowler v State Farm provided my introduction to the hindered act:

In the simplest terms, State Farm cannot refuse to pay the funds due and owing under the policy, then insist that Plaintiffs rebuild before they are entitled to sue for recovery of the replacement costs.

Most gulf coast residents simply do not have the financial resources to rebuild an entire home to completion without the benefit of the insurance benefits due from their homeowner’s insurer. State Farm could greatly reduce its exposure following hurricanes by simply denying coverage, then insisting that the maximum recovery is the actual caSh value Wlder the policy – normally significantly less than replacement costs – simply because the homeowner hasn’t completed rebuilding the home, which they simply can’t afford to do without the insurance proceeds State Farm withholds.

Homeowners are not required to do such a vain and useless thing; they aren’t Continue reading “We will not now allow defendant to raise as a defense plaintiff’s failure to perform an act which defendant itself greatly hindered plaintiff from performing”

Shake it up baby, come on, come on, come on and work it ALL out – not just Hood and State Farm

With the notable exception of MR-GO, nothing about Hurricane Katrina should be sealed; yet, State Farm has sealed so many Katrina litigation documents, the Company is the hands down winner of the “Duck tape saves the day contest“.

Y’allPolitics.com took a step in the right direction today with this announcement:

Jackson New Media, Inc., publisher of the political interest website YallPolitics.com, has filed to intervene in the 2007 federal court case of State Farm Insurance vs. Attorney General Jim Hood

Jackson New Media attorney Andy Taggart stated, “Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina. This was a watershed piece of litigation that tens of thousands of homeowners and all Mississippi taxpayers have a stake in. All we ask from the Court is to allow the press and the public their First Amendment right to access to relevant court materials and remove the lingering doubts as to what really happened in this matter.”

You know you look so good,
You got me going now.

The public’s First Amendment right to access relevant court materials does not begin and end with State Farm v Hood. Continue reading “Shake it up baby, come on, come on, come on and work it ALL out – not just Hood and State Farm”