Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Trent Lott, Tort Reformer

The following was sent to me on a listserv I'm on:

"The Democrats seem to think that the answer is a lawsuit. Sueeverybody."- Sen. Trent Lott, 7/20/01

"I'm among many Mississippi citizens who believe tort reform is needed."- Sen. Trent Lott, 5/8/02"

You know, obviously we should [enact tort reform]...Someday it willhappen, and the sooner the better."- Sen. Trent Lott, 1/24/01

" Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi today credited the agenda of tax cuts,deregulation and tort reform initiatives passed by the Congress andsigned into law by President Bush with the overall upturn in thenational economy."- Sen. Trent Lott press release, 12/2/05

"If their answer to everything is more lawsuits, then yes, that's aproblem, because I certainly don't support that."- Sen. Trent Lott, 8/2/02

"It's sue, sue, sue... That's not the answer."- Sen. Trent Lott, 8/4/01

PUNCHLINE: Today, Senator Trent Lott and his wife Sue, sued State FarmFire and Casualty (those good hands people) for the loss of his home. Iguess tort "reform" is a bad idea when it is his home that is destroyed.

BILOXI, Miss. - A lawyer for U.S. Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, votingrecord) said Monday that State Farm Insurance Co. is destroying documents that could show the insurer has fraudulently denied thousandsof claims by Lott and other policyholders whose homes were destroyed byHurricane Katrina. Zach Scruggs, one of Lott's attorneys, says his client has a "good faith belief" that several State Farm employees in Biloxi are destroying engineering reports that gave conflicting conclusions about whether wind or water was responsible for storm damage. Like thousands of Gulf Coast homeowners, Lott's claim was denied because State Farm concluded that Katrina's flood water demolished his beach-front Pascagoula home. State Farm says its policies do not cover damage from rising water, including wind-driven water. But lawyers for the Mississippi Republican claim Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm has routinely pressured its engineers to alter "favorable"reports that initially blamed damage on hurricane's wind, which the company's policies cover. A State Farm spokesman said Monday he couldn't immediately comment onScruggs' allegations. Lott's allegations come on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Kiln, Miss., couple who claimed they had obtained copies of conflicting reports prepared by State Farm's engineers on what damaged their home. They said one report traced the destruction to Katrina's winds while a later report said flooding was the culprit. In response, State Farm spokesman Phil Supple had said the second report was the only one the engineering firm sent to State Farm's claims office. In an interview Monday, Scruggs said corporate "whistleblowers" who are cooperating with Lott's attorneys have provided evidence that StateFarm employees are destroying or moving those "initial favorable"engineering reports. "We believe that this is a systematic practice," said Scruggs, who isLott's nephew by marriage. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood also says he is investigating allegations that State Farm manipulated engineering reports to denyclaims after the Aug. 29 hurricane. A judge ordered State Farm to turn over copies of its Katrina engineering reports to Hood's office. The judge also ordered Hood'soffice to set up a "Chinese wall" that would keep the documents out ofthe hands of lawyers with civil cases against State Farm.Because Hood also has filed a civil case on behalf of the state against State Farm and other insurance companies, State Farm is asking the judge to bar Hood himself from seeing the records. State Farm denied Lott's claim in December based on a report prepared byJade Engineering & Construction Inc. that concluded that the house was "probably damaged by storm surge/flooding and not by wind." Scruggs is asking a federal judge to order State Farm to turn overLott's entire case file as well as records for other policyholders' claims.

So I'm wondering what he thinks of tort reform and caps on punitive damages now?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

State Farm is also denying roof damage claims as well. Homes are being covered by policies written by other carriers right next to homes that State Farms is denying coverage.

I think it is time to move to another agency.