December 29, 2010
I came across this website I had saved in my favorites list.This occurred back in 1998.
I trust that Allstate has changed its practices since then, but from what I have seen, I am not sure that may be the case. I have clients who have told me that their adjuster has in fact encouraged them not to seek an attorney because possibly their claim would be resolved faster and why would they want to pay a portion to the attorney who will do nothing? What I have been told is of course hearsay and only third hand, but, nevertheless, given the track record of the major insurance companies in their practices of delaying, denying and defending (the Triple Ds as we call it) I would not be surprised if that sort of practices are still the case.
Allstate’s practices have caused controversy over the last several years in Connecticut and other states. Allstate has been accused of discouraging claimants from engaging lawyers to represent them in claims against the company. The Allstate flier represents that claims are resolved faster if the claimants do not hire lawyers. Ignoring the inherent conflict of interest that exists between Allstate and claimants, Allstate makes a “customer service pledge” promising to treat injured parties as if they are “customers.” Allstate encourages claimants to sign authorizations allowing it to obtain all records related to the claim and promises to conduct a prompt investigation on their behalf so that lawyers are not needed.
What Allstate does not tell claimants is that the purpose of the campaign is to pay out less on claims. Allstate’s own internal training documents contains statistics demonstrating that when lawyers represent claimants, the settlement amounts are two to three times higher than when claimants represent themselves. Allstate employees are rewarded with bonuses based upon the percentage of claims paid to unrepresented claimants.
Allstate trains its representatives with a series of telephone scripts and form letters aimed at convincing claimants to avoid lawyers. Claims reps are taught to speak to claimants with empathy in order to gain their trust and make the claimant feel as if the claims rep will be their advocate, not their adversary, which is the reality of the relationship. The scripts provide legal information to claimants so they can obtain key advice without having to consult lawyers.This practice led to the conclusion reached in five states that Allstate was engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
December 24, 2010
December 22, 2010
Lisa Madigan, my Hero, has once again done good for the consumers in Illinois by helping the settlement of the case where Dannon did not provide the entire truth to the public–that is, you need to take three times the amount of yogurt you would usually eat in order for the claims in the advertising to be true. Well, Dannon will now give all the necessary information to the public.
Accused of making unsubstantiated claims of health benefits for its Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drink, the Dannon Company has agreed to a $21 million settlement with Illinois and 38 other states, officials announced Wednesday.
The Federal Trade Commission said Dannon lacked scientific evidence to substantiate its claims that Activia relieves bowel irregularity and that DanActive helps prevent cold and flu. Attorneys general from 39 states aided the FTC investigation and will share $21 million. Illinois will get $425,000 of that, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office said.
Dannon spokesman Michael Neuwirth said the company is not withdrawing the disputed ads but will have to state that three daily servings of Activia are needed to improve regularity. The company said it never marketed DanActive as a cold and flu remedy.
December 21, 2010
In a typical motor vehicle incident lawsuit, the plaintiff has to show three things. One, that the other driver was negligent in the operation of his motor vehicle. Two, that the plaintiff was injured; and three, that the injuries form which the plaintiff suffers were directly or proximately caused by the negligence of the other driver. All three prongs have to be proven by a preponderance of evidence–that is, they are more true than not. If the plaintiff fails to prove any of the three requirements, he will lose.
In the case below, the plaintiff is also claiming negligent entrustment. That is he is claiming that the owner of the vehicle was careless in allowing the driver allegedly caused the collision and the injuries claimed to borrow the vehicle and driver it.
Theodore A. Bartelmey has filed suit against Derek J. Walsh and Renee M. Hagerstrom, after acquiring injuries from an accident that occurred Jan. 14, 2009. Bartelmey was traveling west on Interstate 80, near the Illinois 47 overpass. Walsh was driving Hagerstrom’s vehicle east on I-80 when the crash occurred.
The complaint states that Walsh was negligent by speeding, failed to maintain control of the vehicle, drove too fast for conditions, failed to give warning when approaching Bartelmey, failed to reduce speed or stop to avoid an accident, and did not keep a proper lookout.
Because of the accident Bartelmey suffered severe and permanent injuries and cannot perform usual duties. Bartelmey is suing for pain and suffering and for medical expenses. Bartelmey is also suing Hagerstrom for allowing Walsh to operate the vehicle.
Bartelmey is suing for an excess of $50,000.
December 20, 2010
The Class Action process has come under attack from various businesses in the recent years. Some big corporations, believe that if the cost of litigation is made to be equal or more to the amount in controversy, most consumers will simply rather not bother and deal with it–allowing the corporation to get away with little fraudulent acts here and there. These acts may be too small to bother for many consumers, but ma amount to millions of dollars in illegal revenues for big corporations with millions of customers at their disposal.
Class action lawsuits are the process by which attorneys and law firms can get involved by pooling together all similar claims and making one big claim worth pursuing. Safeguarding the ability of consumers to pool together and keeping the process as strong as possible is an important consumer protection.
Wal-Mart is accused in the 9-year-old suit of paying women less than men for the same jobs and giving female workers fewer promotions. Six women are seeking to serve as class representatives, including Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart greeter in Pittsburg, California.Wal-Mart said in a statement it was pleased the Supreme Court granted review. “The current confusion in class-action law is harmful for everyone — employers, employees, businesses of all types and sizes and the civil justice system,” the company said.“We are confident that the decision to certify the class was sound,” Joseph Sellers, who represents the women, said in a statement.
December 17, 2010
December 16, 2010
At first brush it appears to me that the Administrative Law Judge has gotten things wrong. If the attorney, mentally ill or otherwise, is charging unusual charges on the firm’s credit card and the is attempting to pass on the charges to the client–a possible ethical violation which can be imputed on the entire law firm–what else other than firing the attorney can the law firm do? It appears to me that the ethical issues should have been resolved before the employment issues were to be considered.
The New York State Division of Human Rights has awarded a former contract partner at Hill Betts & Nash nearly $600,000 after an administrative law judge found that the firm discriminated against him due to his mental health issues.
The former partner, James M. Hazen, filed papers this month in Manhattan Supreme Court to enforce the divisions final Oct. 27 order and award further damages beyond what the division granted. Hazen, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was fired by the Manhattan-based law firm in 2006 after ringing up unusual charges on a company credit card, an administrative judge ruled in 2008.
Hill Betts, a 112-year-old firm, has maintained that it fired Hazen because of the credit card expenses, which it said he tried to pass on to clients. In 2006, the firm referred Hazen to the 1st Department Disciplinary Committee.
Hazens lawyer, William H. Roth, said the disciplinary committee had put its proceedings on hold pending the resolution of the employment litigation. Roth declined further comment.
December 15, 2010
It appears that with the new laws that have gone into effect regarding the way banks and credit card companies have bamboozled their customers, things are little by little falling into place and the abuses of the past are being remedied either legislatively or juridically.
A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois claims Fifth Third improperly assessed overdraft fees for insufficient funds on debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals by “re-sequencing” transactions to maximize the number of overdraft fees. The bank has denied the lawsuits claims.