Looks like Allstate is willing to pay $2.4 Million dollars to hide their claims practices:
Allstate won’t produce records despite $25,000-a-day fine
By JOE LAMBE
The Kansas City Star
Allstate Insurance Co. lawyers made this clear Tuesday to a Jackson County judge: They will not produce key records for public view no matter how much he fines them.
And Judge Michael Manners has already fined them $25,000 a day since mid September — a total of $2.4 million and growing.
And last month the Missouri Supreme Court ordered the documents produced,
At issue are the so-called McKinsey documents, a kind of holy grail for plaintiff lawyers nationwide.
Plaintiff lawyers allege they show how Allstate set up a claims payment system in the 1990s that shortchanges clients while earning huge profits.
Allstate contends the 12,500 pages prepared by consultant McKinsey & Co. are trade secrets used to create company policies, methods and claims procedures.
Until this year, state high courts had agreed with the company. But last month the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that it must provide them in the case before Manners.
Allstate still refused. Tuesday’s hearing took place in part so Manners could consider whether to increase his daily fine.
The case stems from a car wreck seven years ago on Interstate 70. Allstate client Paul Aldridge of Hawaii ran into the back of a truck and severely injured the driver. He is suing Allstate for bad faith for refusing to pay the claim for years.
As for the documents, Ronald Getchey, a San Diego lawyer representing Allstate, told the judge: “We won’t produce them without a protective order (sealing them).”
He questioned whether the $25,000-a-day fine was legal and whether the judge’s order finding them in contempt was too vague.
Plaintiff lawyer Steve Garner of Springfield called those arguments “silliness.”
Getchey argued that the matter is uncertain and noted that the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the company could return there if Garner tried to collect the $25,000-a-day fine, which would go to Aldridge.
Garner said he was more concerned about getting the documents and going to trial, but he may start collecting the fine for his client.
Getchey told the judge: “We have a principled difference we’re not able to resolve until somebody says what the law is.”
Manners countered: “I’ve already said that, but you just don’t agree.”
Then he set a July trial date, the first time Garner had available.
Getchey noted that was a long time at $25,000 a day.
“We shouldn’t get a $5 million fine because counsel is not available to try the case,” he said.
Manners conceded the point and said he may not increase the daily fine after all.