Insurance Lawyers Need Reimbursement for Unfounded Claims

McClenny Moseley & Associates cast a wide net in search of hurricane victims to sign up as clients. Soon, a Houston law firm may begin paying to clean up some of the debris found.

Last week, United National Insurance Co.’s attorneys filed a motion in US District Court to order MMA to pay the amount. $23,710.35 to reimburse the cost of responding to 8 unfounded claims filed by MMA against the airline.

Last month another federal judge ordered MMA to pay $15,914 to another insurer’s defense attorney for the cost of responding to a false claim. .

“You sued an insurance company that didn’t issue a policy without doing an investigation to see if there was a policy,” said Judge David C. Joseph, with the U.S. District Court for the Western District. Louisiana, to an MMA lawyer during the trial on December 28. .

As previously reported by Claims Journal, US District Court Judge James D. Cain called the managing attorney of MMA’s New Orleans office, R. William Huye III, into his chambers. judge on December 13 for an explanation after he received 43 claims that appear to be duplicates. other files, filed against the wrong insurer, or making special claims, such as storm damage to a property that is not in the path of the said storm. Cain compared attorneys for the law firm to the “bottom line” for filing 1,642 hurricane claims over the course of four days. He threatened to fine the law firm $200 for each unfounded claim he received.

William Huey

Since then, Cain has ordered $200 fines in two separate cases after MMA filed motions to dismiss the lawsuits. More than 40 other questionable cases are still pending, including eight lawsuits filed against United National.

Huye attended three separate hearings in the past four months to explain how his law firm had dismissed several court filings. The trial held on December 28 before Judge Joseph revealed some new information.

Attorney Matthew D. Monson, representing Allied Trust Insurance Co., told Judge Joseph that a marketing company called Velawcity ID was referring people to potential do it in MMA. She said her own husband received an anonymous text message from Velawcity telling her she was eligible for Hurricane Ida funds.

Another insurance defense attorney, William B. Collum in Tampa, said in a LinkedIn post that his late father also received a marketing message from McClenny Moseley. The company sent a letter in his father’s name, but it was addressed to Collum’s home in Fort Myers. Collum said his father lived with him in the last year of his life, before he died seven years ago.

Matthew Monson

“He is being held in Michigan, outside the path of Hurricane Ian,” the LinkedIn post said.

In court, Monson said Velawcity’s name was on the forms used by MMA to sign up customers.

“Velawcity is the reason McClenny Moseley has 15,000 lawsuits and no one else has 1,000,” he said.

One of those forms provided the name and address for Bobby Dyer, a Shreveport property owner who sued Monson’s client, Allied Trust. Dyer appeared in court on December 28 and told the judge that his property was indeed insured by Allstate.

According to Joseph, MMA appeared to rely on the information provided by Velawcity. He said the company “is basically a runner,” a term used by a person who regulates insurers.

On January 17, Joseph dismissed Dyer’s discrimination claim and ordered MMA to pay Monson $15,914 for the cost of responding to the mistrial.

The New Orleans law firm of Degan, Blanchard & Nash is also seeking reimbursement for the cost of responding to eight lawsuits filed against United National by uninsured owners of the ship. The law firm listed prices in eight different motions, with fees ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 per case and an “internal cost” of $1,250 per claim. In total, the law firm is asking for $23,710.35.

In a phone interview on Friday, Huye revealed that his law firm filed claims even though there was no insurance or publicity page. But he said Louisiana’s strict two-year statute of limitations puts plaintiffs in a difficult position. If he doesn’t file a claim, hurricane victims who have claims against their insurers will lose their right to collect any payments.

“You have a limited amount of time to file your claims to lose your insurance,” he said.

Huye said that any comparison of Velawcity to an insurance “run” is “absolutely false.” He said the company is doing advertising for his law firm and helping to reach out to people who may be affected by the storms. He said the MMA operates a contact center staffed by non-lawyers who provide written answers to callers’ questions, but all legal work is handled by licensed attorneys. .

Huye says some mistakes are made because of the volume. He said he is well aware that some insurance defense attorneys will need to reimburse their fees.

“That’s what we have to deal with,” he said. “We have to act appropriately.”

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