Too often in litigation, unfair things are happening, but it’s difficult to get one judge in one case to pay serious attention because the judge can not and does not see the big picture from one particular case. MDLs and consolidations can help/force one judge to see the big picture. For example, last week, I wrote about Magistrate Judge Brown’s opinion sanctioning an insurer and its lawyers after an investigative hearing into fraud involving engineering reports prepared in connection with multiple Sandy-related insurance claims. Judge Brown (and other judges) have been working on hundreds of Sandy-related cases, and so he was motivated to and did hold an evidentiary hearing to try to cut through to see the big picture. More on that will unfold over the next few weeks.
Once the snowball starts moving, it can grow, quickly. Asbestos lawyers have seen that movie with the Garlock asbestos bankruptcy case, and that snowball continues to grow, with more expansion perhaps occurring this week. Now the snowball is growing for the Sandy cases. Paul Barrett of Newsweek subsequently wrote a story on the insurance company fraud in the Sandy cases. After that, an online commenter on the article posted a link to another, earlier story that predated Magistrate Judge Brown’s hearing and ruling. Thus, this October 2014 article from Metropolitan Engineering and Forensics goes into some detail about how part of the fraud was uncovered. Meanwhile, E& E news service had a related story on October 16, 2014. Then, returning to the present, Chip Merlin added a November 14, 2014 blog post with more background facts, and links to other news articles on the topic. Meanwhile, a New Jersey Senator is calling for an investigation, and a plaintiff’s lawyer is asking New Jersey judges to enter an order of the sort entered by Magistrate Judge Brown for cases in New York. And other media also are carrying the story – just google “sandy and fraud.”
Creating change is difficult. To get there, it’s important to present the big picture story, accurately, and with real factual proof, as opposed to rumors and spin.