For nearly two decades, the world's biggest insurance corporations have relentlessly lobbied the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to restrict the ability of consumers to obtain relief through the legal system for non-payment of claims caused by insurer fraud and corruption. These insurers approach lawmakers with wild claims about "litigation explosion". They frequently complain about the expense of defending themselves from lawsuits and the delays that occur in our legal system.
The records show that, in fact, expense and delay in insurance litigation is usually the result of deliberate attempts by insurers -- the very entities urging "tort reform" -- to avoid disclosure of critical information revealing insurer fraud and corruption. Insurance Companies have repeatedly abused the pre-trial discovery process, ignoring the obligations imposed on them by plaintiffs' discovery requests and by orders of presiding trial judges.
Insurance company abuse includes providing misleading responses to discovery requests -- responses that obscure the fact that the defendant is deliberately withholding documents sought by the plaintiff.
Insurers have sought to shield mountains of documents behind the attorney-client privilege, without demonstrating or even confirming that all such documents are subject to the privilege.
Even when they have provided documents to plaintiffs, Insurance companies have often sought elaborate protective orders aimed at hiding damaging information from the public, the media, and government agencies -- as well as from other plaintiffs who file claims against them. And where insurance companies face likely defeat at trial, they sometimes demand, as the price for settlement, agreements by plaintiffs to seal for all time the records of a case -- including, sometimes, the transcripts of a public trial.
They often refuse to provide important information until ordered to do so by the presiding judge -- and often fail to comply even after such judicial orders are issued.
They have blatantly concealed and destroyed documents relevant to insurance claims and cases -- often while denying that such records ever existed.
Facts demonstrate the need for genuine reform of the tort system -- reform that addresses discovery abuse by litigants rather than, as insurance groups urge, arbitrarily weakening the rights of injured persons. We need reforms to make the resolution of tort claims more fair and more efficient, so that frivolous claims can be quickly identified and dismissed and legitimate claims can be promptly resolved. Reforms aimed at curbing abuse of the pre-trial discovery process would help ensure that cases are decided on their actual merits -- on the truth -- and not on the ability of Insurers to outspend their claimants on legal fees and expenses, or the willingness of Insurance attorneys to bend and break ethical and legal standards.
We need much tougher sanctions imposed by judges for discovery abuse, and stronger court rules to provide for direct punishment of attorneys who violate court discovery orders and related ethical rules.
We need more criminal investigations of lawyers and parties who lie or destroy documents during litigation.
There needs to be increased recognition of an independent tort action for deliberate destruction of relevant evidence, and most of all, sharp restrictions on the use of pre-trial secrecy orders and confidential case settlements.
Truth and Justice will prevail! Promote it for all you are worth, or your worth will be nothing!
Please don't believe "You're in Good Hands", or that "A Good Neighbor" will deliver "A Piece Of The Rock", if you buy their Insurance!
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