It’s Been That Kind Of A…..



Every now and again, the demand for my time and attention can exceed my calendar. Since my profession is the investigation of casualty claims, one cannot control the number of and degree of intensity of new claims assignment to investigate. As a result, creative efforts such as Wildomar Magazine must, of necessity, take a backseat.

One of our company’s primary clients is the well-known parcel delivery service (the one with the ubiquitous dark-colored trucks). Whenever one of their vehicles is involved in a collision with another vehicle, if it occurs in the Southern California area, I will receive a telephone call (often in the early morning hours) and I am required to immediately go to the scene and initiate a liability-focused investigation. These accidents can range from “freeway-stopping fatalies'” (two in the last month), to more mundane, slow speed residential uncontrolled intersection accidents. However, until we arrive on scene, we are never certain as to the nature and the seriousness of the occurrence.

On the other hand, for the past 20 years, I have been primarily involved in the resolution of complex litigation, such as found in construction defect lawsuits. On Wednesday of this week, I took what I thought would be a simple overnight flight to Reno Nevada to attend a Mandatory Settlement Conference for a single residence, “mold-based” litigation. Settlement conferences are generally scheduled within 30 days of trial, so the pressure to settle the matter is on all parties.

As such, I scheduled my return flight for just after noon on Thursday, anticipating a rapid resolution of the matter, given the serious limitations of insurance coverage available for this particular lawsuit. It’s one thing to win a big lawsuit. It’s quite another to get paid, especially if there is limited coverage to find a settlement.

However, the judge presiding over the MSC was a recent appointee to the bench and had a self-admitted string of successes in resolving complex litigation is, and this matter would be no exception. As a result, despite my reasonable request to make a brief presentation to His Honor, which included the entirety of my authorized economic contribution to the negotiations, His Honor insisted that every last carrier representative be present in His Court throughout the process.

At the very least, I was able to enjoy the late afternoon shrieking of the plaintiff’s spouse, emanating from the judge’s chambers, when she realized that her million-dollar claim was going to be settled for about 25% of that amount.

And that her attorney would take 40% of that.

Finally, after achieving the resolution on our terms, the matter was put “on the record” at approximately 5:00 PM.

After that, a quick taxi ride to the Reno-Tahoe Airport

Needless to say, rather than being home by 5:00 PM, I found myself getting on an airplane at 7:30 PM, with the scheduled arrival in Ontario at 11:30 PM.

Unfortunately, I had previously agreed to attend another MSC at the Orange County Court at 8:45 AM the next morning.

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I considered leaving the Courthouse after I made my pitch, contemplating that His Honor would not recognize my absence.

However, the thought of having a bench warrant served on me at the airport was a sufficient deterrent to my going AWOL. It’s that “duty-thing” that is ingrained in all military veterans… and insurance professionals. (I am both).


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