Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Why people hate lawyers, part 5,238

Sure, I know, my most loyal readers want more grandbaby stuff and less of the boring decline and fall of Curmudgeon's law practice.

And, trust me, there's less and less to write about on the practice side.

And I not only didn't get a MacArthur Genius Grant -- again -- I didn't even get nominated for the ABA's Blawg 100. Again.

But I'm cranked out of shape this morning by something up in court: A case that settled... wait for it... in early July. Three whole months ago. And it's not over yet. It may not be over, officially, when I walk out of the courtroom this morning.

Here's the deal (sort of -- you know I can't breach client confidences): My client paid a whole bagful of money to settle a personal injury case -- a lot less than the plaintiff wanted, less than our policy limit, less than the injuries alone would have suggested. A lot less. But there were some good facts on the liability side. There was also a question of whether our coverage actually applied at all. We -- I -- had an argument that it did not apply. I represented the insurance company in a separate coverage case. Both my case and the underlying case were resolved -- I've mentioned this, didn't I? -- three months ago.

But, at the mediation, I had this bright idea. Another insurer was providing one of our insureds a defense in my coverage case (there was probably no coverage under that other policy, but the duty to defend is broadly construed in Illinois -- that's how come my client had hired another firm to represent its insureds in the underlying PI case even though it didn't think there was coverage).

I'm confusing you, aren't I?

Well, to cut through all the legal stuff (there goes next year's Blawg 100 nomination), we got the other carrier, the one providing a defense in my coverage case, to kick in $10,000 toward the overall settlement. It was, in the context of the case, a token contribution -- but a significant one for my client.

After the settlement was reached, the second carrier hired a law firm to interfere with, er, monitor and approve the settlement documents.

Three months later, I think we got a deal.

But, I swear, it was as if the attorney for the second carrier wanted to try and find a way to bill $10,000 for not even drafting a release.

Litigation can be a trap for parties. It should be avoided by most rational people. Don't text and drive. Don't jaywalk. Don't climb out on roofs pretending they are patios. Don't screw your business partners. Pay your bills on time (he that can not do, gives advice).

Because litigation can be like a spider web. It can be a trap for the parties, like spider webs are traps for flies. And some lawyers can be way too much like spiders, sucking the last bit of juice out of every trapped fly.

It's not all of us, but it's too many of us. And I have to get ready for court now.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

oh yeah, you're not confusing me curmy! remember the time we were sued for owning a house 30 years ago that supposedly had lead paint in it? yeah, that. cost us a fortune to defend and never got to court. finally i wrote the settlement and the check and the attorney sent me a bill for doing it. grrrrr.

smiles, bee

Anonymous said...

very good!