SIU / Insurance Fraud Litigation – Case Results

___v. Motel 6 (Orleans Parish)

In March of 2012, Devin Fadaol obtained a dismissal of plaintiff’s false-arrest lawsuit through Motion for Summary Judgment in New Orleans, Louisiana. The plaintiff argued that Motel 6 was liable for his emotional distress and physical injuries from being wrongfully incarcerated. Hotel employees called the police and reported a suspected crime based on an odor emanating from the plaintiff’s hotel room. The court granted the MSJ based on testimony from the arresting officers that they had probable cause to make the arrest when they noticed drug paraphernalia in the plaintiff’s hotel room.

USAA obtains Zero Judgment on alleged vehicle theft claim
(April 2010)

Peter Wanek won a defense judgment and dismissal of plaintiff’s case following a bench trial in the 24th Judicial District Court for Jefferson Parish. Plaintiff, Cha-Ron Clark filed suit against USAA Casualty Insurance Company alleging USAA was arbitrary and capricious in its refusal to pay her claim for the alleged theft of her 2006 BMW 325i from her apartment complex. Plaintiff offered conflicting times regarding the last time she had operated the car, as well as conflicting stories regarding the number of keys she possessed to the car, initially suggesting, and later affirming in three recorded statements that she only had two keys to the car. Plaintiff forwarded the two keys to USAA, which were later scanned and revealed that the time plaintiff claimed she had last driven the car significantly conflicted with the times the car had been driven last. Ultimately, the car was recovered completely burned and there was no evidence to suggest that anything had been taken from the car. After USAA denied plaintiff’s theft claim, she changed her story, insisting that she had three keys to the car, and the third or spare key was missing or must have been stolen from her apartment.

Prior to trial, USAA was successful in obtaining a partial summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s bad faith and mental anguish claims. At trial, USAA offered unrebutted expert testimony from a BMW master technician who testified that it was highly improbable and nearly impossible to steal the model type of plaintiff’s BMW without the use of a key. The expert also disputed plaintiff’s description of the spare key for the car. USAA additionally offered extensive evidence of plaintiff’s financial history, which demonstrated a potential motive for plaintiff to dispose of the car. In ruling in favor of USAA, the court determined that plaintiff failed to meet her burden that her claim qualified as a compensable loss under the insurance policy. Other than the plaintiff’s own testimony that the car was missing, the court held that plaintiff offered no evidence of a theft, and when considering the expert’s testimony that the car could not be stolen without a key, no evidence presented by plaintiff lead to the conclusion that a theft had occurred.

Alfred Kelly/Kenneth Prejean/Cypress Bellard v. U-Haul Company of Louisiana
(June 2007)

Devin Fadaol won a victory for U-Haul in this special investigations unit/fraud case. Devin Fadaol successfully argued in summary judgment that the accident was staged based on the testimony of the U-Haul vehicle driver and another witness. Judge Rubin in Lafayette granted the summary judgment dismissing U-Haul and its driver from the lawsuit, and granted a $7,500.00 bond for costs against the plaintiffs.

Caprice Bivens v U-Haul Company of Louisiana
(March 2007)

Devin Fadaol won a victory for U-Haul in this special investigations unit/fraud case. Devin Fadaol was able to obtain a voluntary dismissal from the plaintiffs following the deposition of an eyewitness that raised issues of possible perjury in the plaintiff’s prior testimony.

Plaintiff (omitted) v. U-Haul Company of Louisiana and Republic Western Insurance Company
(March 2007)

Michael Sistrunk and Devin Fadaol won a victory for U-Haul in this bench trial before Judge Madeleine Landrieu in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. Plaintiff claimed that U-Haul employees cut the lock on his self-storage unit and stole or discarded over $100,000.00 worth of personal property. Plaintiff also alleged that U-Haul allowed rodents to destroy his personal property two years earlier in another self-storage unit.

After a two day trial, Judge Landrieu rendered a defense judgment in favor of U-Haul, finding that plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof. Judge Landrieu also ruled that plaintiff submitted a fraudulent claim, awarded all court costs to be paid by plaintiff, and awarded attorney’s fees in favor of U-Haul.

Debra Brown v. State Farm Insurance Company
(January 2006)

McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys won an appeal in favor of State Farm Insurance Company in the case entitled Debra Brown v. State Farm Insurance Company in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court completely and entered judgement in favor of the defendants.

Calvin Johnson v. U-Haul and Republic Western – Ascension Parish Court
(November 2005)

Calvin Johnson claimed that he was inside his vehicle during a parking lot accident involving a U-Haul vehicle. Devin Fadaol defended the case at trial arguing that Calvin Johnson was actually inside the store paying for gas when the impact occurred in the parking lot. After a bench trial before Judge Marilyn Lambert, the judge found that Calvin Johnson was not in the vehicle and awarded zero dollars for personal injury and alleged lost wages. Calvin Johnson was awarded $500.00 for his property damage.

Meyers, et al.. v. U-Haul Company of Louisiana, et al.
(May 2004)

Michael R. Sistrunk and Kyle P. Kirsch obtained dismissal of the plaintiffs claims in favor of U-Haul and Republic Western Insurance Company in a case entitled Yolanda Meyers, et al. v. Christina Pepp Seals et al., 02-54938 First City Court for the City of New Orleans before the Honorable Charles Imbornone. The dismissal was obtained after evidence of collusion was adduced between the driver of U-Haul vehicle and the plaintiffs. This information led to the withdrawal of the attorney on behalf of the plaintiffs, plaintiffs refusing to attend their noticed depositions and eventually a dismissal of their claims with prejudice.

Jiles v. U-Haul
(April 2004)

Michael Sistrunk won a victory in favor of U-Haul in the case entitled Jiles v. U-Haul in the 21st Judicial District Court for the Parish of Tangipahoa. One plaintiff claimed two years of treatment as a result of this accident and the other plaintiff claimed 6 months of treatment as a result of the same accident. U-Haul maintained both claims were fraudulent. After a trial on the merits, the judge awarded the plaintiffs $500 and the cost of their ambulance ride.

White v. Armitage
(November 2003)

In November 2003, McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys won a victory in favor of State Farm in the case entitled White v. Armitage in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found plaintiffs had no right of action against a liability insurer alone after dismissal of named insured, reversing the trial court judgment.

Johnson v. Nguyen
(July 2001)

Thomas P. Anzelmo and Kyle P. Kirsch obtained a contempt of court award in favor of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company against a notorious plaintiff’s doctor for evading depositions. On appeal the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the contempt of court award and determined that the doctor’s appeal was frivolous. See Johnson v. Nguyen, 00-1148 (La. App. 4 Cir. 07/11/01), 793 So.2d 370.