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Re: The Lawyer v. The Marine


From a reader:

Aren’t attorney Grodner and the State of Illinois suggesting that Sgt. McNulty commit insurance fraud? If the damage to the vehicle was caused by an unidentified vandal, Sgt. McNulty’s insurance carrier would be expected to pay for the repairs, but since the vandal has been identified, he is responsible to pay for the repairs, not Sgt. McNulty’s insurance carrier. I’m not sure what flavor Kool-Aid the state prosecutors in Illinois are drinking, but there’s no doubt they’re drinking lots of it. Illinois taxpayers won’t allow the justice system they pay for to be used to aid and abet Grodner in his plan to financially damage Sgt. McNulty and then thwart his efforts to secure justice. Also, it’s unlikely that the state licensing board will ignore Grodner’s blatant legal and ethical violations — especially given the fact that they are aimed at a soldier on his way to Iraq. Because Grodner’s mean-spirited arrogance reminds people why they detest lawyers, his colleagues should be first in line to condemn him.

Update: From a reader in the insurance game, natch:

Trying out to be your Insurance Claim Guy-

The Sgt. could legally claim under his policy as the carrier would then assume his rights upon payment to the Sgt. for damage caused by a third party (known as Subrogation in the biz) in this case a known third party and sue the third party to get back their loss. What the Sgt. cannot do is settle his claim against the lawyer for the $100.00 deductible and then bring a claim against his policy. Such would impair his carrier’s subrogation rights and relieve the carrier of the duty to indemnify him against loss from vandalism. So the suggestion to settle with the vandal is not fraud, but could cost the Sgt. and ability to make a claim with his carrier.

The fact that the vandal is known as opposed to unknown is not relevant unless the policy covers only “unknown” vandalism, which I doubt. Otherwise, carriers could deny liability for any damage caused by a thief that is subsequently caught. To hold otherwise would create an incentive to not chase down a vandal/thief.

If awarded the office, please keep my employer confidential.

And, from another aspiring Insurance Claim Guy:

Grodner was not asking to commit insurance fraud. There is nothing 
wrong with McNulty filing a claim with his insurance company for the 
damage even if he knows who did it. It would be similar to filing a 
claim with your insurance company under your collision policy after 
being rear-ended rather than filing a claim with the other 
individual’s liability insurance provider or suing an uninsured 
individual. Particularly for the uninsured individual (assuming they 
have enough cash to satisfy any judgment), one reason to file a claim 
with your own insurer is to avoid the hassle of going to court.

Grodner’s scheme was actually pretty stupid. When you accept a claim 
settlement from your insurance company you also subrogate your claim 
against the third party to them. By attempting to force an insurance 
claim we was replacing a not-legally-savvy individual with a legally 
savvy, deep pocketed insurance company as the plaintiff in any civil 
lawsuit. He must assume the insurance company would not bother suing 
over $2400.

If for some random reason you post this, please remove my identifying