I'm guessing Allstate policyholders' premiums are going to go up.
Here's a summary of an interesting news report from yesterday's Kansas City Star. An Allstate insured is suing Allstate in Missouri because the company failed to pay on his policy after he struck and injured another motorist. The insured, Mr. Aldridge, requested documents relating to a consultant's report in the case, and the trial court ordered Allstate to produce them.
Allstate appealed all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court ruled that Allstate must produce the consultant's papers. Allstate is still refusing, so the trial court levied fines. Reportedly, the fines are $25,000 per day for the refusal.
Here is a url to the news report: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/v-print/story/409641.html
Allstate seems to have concluded that it can ignore the rulings and orders of the courts. It doesn't like the result, so it will just refuse to comply. The fines don't seem to be a problem. After all, they can just pass them through to policyholders.
When an injured person gets a large verdict, the media machine for the tort reform industry throws out terms. You've heard them: lawsuit lottery, frivolous lawsuit, and judicial hellhole. So what do they call it when Allstate simply refuses to comply with an order of the court? I don't hear the American Tort Reform Association putting out any press releases on this issue. Nor do I hear the politicians who hate the jury system system condemning Allstate. All I hear is a variation on the golden rule. As in, "We've got the gold, so we make the rules."
I'll be watching carefully for that next series of Allstate's commercials to hear them explain how they take care of policyholders. Who knows? Maybe they'll explain this one in a new TV ad with that guy who tells us about Allstate's stand.
I can hardly wait.
David F. Sugerman
Paul & Sugerman, PC