What are firms supposed to do when their opponents are trying to put them out of business?
The post Massive Plaintiffs Law Firm Decides To Play Hardball With Insurance Industry appeared first on Above the Law.
Last week, Florida governor Ron DeSantis took another swipe at remaking the Sunshine State into a right-wing paradise by signing into law HB 837, which totally revamps Florida tort law. The new law is an insurance industry dream come true — it changes Florida’s bad faith law, repeals one-way attorneys’ fee statutes, reduces the statute of limitations for negligence cases, adopts modified comparative fault, limits damages, and more.
There’re no shortage of folks, outside the insurance industry, happy to tell you why the new law is bad. Bob Jarvis, a professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Law, told Law.com, “HB 837 is a pro-business, anti-consumer bill. Calling it ‘tort reform’ is a complete misnomer. Hopefully, when consumers learn what their legislators have done to them, they will begin to vote for legislators that will protect them.” And Miami attorney Brad Sohn went further, saying, “The notion that any of this protects the little guy is offensive. This legislation is kowtowing to the insurance industry at its worst.”
“Where is the proof that insurance rates are going up because of purportedly out-of-control verdicts?” Sohn added. “If Gov. DeSantis is telling the truth that he wants to protect policy-holders, has he even asked carriers to freeze premium costs for a period of time? This is downright Orwellian.”
But one of the largest plaintiffs firms in the country, Morgan & Morgan, isn’t taking the assault on tort law lying down. In an email sent internally at the firm (available in full on the next page), Matt Morgan and COO Reuven Moskowitz lay out the firm’s new policy for dealing with defendants in the insurance industry.
There’s no more Mr. Nice Guy at Morgan & Morgan:
Good morning PI lawyers across the country!
As we enter this new era, I want to make it unequivocally clear that we will not be giving an inch to carriers ever again.Not one inch.Specifically, as a matter of policy we will not be granting any extension of any sort moving forward for any reason.They can figure it out or file a motion.Under no circumstances will we be agreeing to any continuances, discovery extensions, or request to extend deadline to answer complaints.Redline rules.It will be a serious internal offense if we find any courtesies being extended to the insurance industry. Including cases filed prior to March.No discovery extensions.No matter the circumstances.We may want to help the human being defense attorney because we know them and maybe like them, but we will not because they work for an enemy who is heartless and ruthless.The enemy who just tried to kill us in FL.They work for the enemy who would like nothing more but for you to be unemployed.We work for the people.Exclusively.They tried to take from the most vulnerable people and consequently, from your families.No extensions for responses to our complaints.If there are extenuating circumstances that would benefit our client only please reach out to Matt or John Smith for prior approval.As a blanket rule we will be giving not one single inch.LFG.
Listen, there’s validity to a call for civility in the legal profession. And I’m sure Morgan & Morgan will feel backlash from those who think such a hardline rule isn’t appropriate in the legal profession, and that, fundamentally, extending professional courtesies benefits both sides. But the reality is that while individual lawyers have played nice to each other’s faces, the insurance industry powering the defense side has declared an all-out war on tort law. Perhaps Morgan’s approach isn’t the most nuanced, but it is a recognition that the insurance industry is playing for keeps, and PI attorneys best do the same.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.