THE CUT MAN, THE DUAL, AND THE DANCE

Insurance, Legal
One of the most important components of an attorney’s litigation team is the expert. An attorney going into a court without the best expert is like a solider going to battle without a rifle. And so it came to pass in a federal courthouse some time ago that a black limousine pulled up in front of the courthouse steps. An attendant quickly stepped to the rear door to open it for his passenger. It was at that time one of the guards at the courthouse shared with me this quip: “You (me) are in for one hell of a ride, my friend.” Not a particularly a comforting message with my appearance for testimony scheduled for first thing in the morning – just about 15 minutes away. It seemed this particular…
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Death, Injury, & Property Damage

Insurance, Legal
During February, I received four requests from different insurance companies to render an opinion on the unfortunate outcome of trees falling on people and onto property. One death, one personal injury, and two homes with extensive damage. One month. Trees can be and are dangerous. That danger grows exponentially when the subject trees are not inspected for hazardous parts or repairs, or when removals are not implemented. The one constant in all of these assignments was the insurance companies, which only wanted to know the truth of the matter. Could the tree failure have been prevented? Was the insured at fault?  I have read, as has most everyone, the available news that paints insurance companies as monsters for not providing proper and ethical coverage. I work with attorneys who have…
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Fat Cats and Honesty

Insurance, Legal
One commodity weighs heaviest among all professionals: the truth. Nothing separates success in the professional marketplace and private relationships quite like the truth. Synonymous with honor, integrity, and character, the truth and a reputation for telling it are priceless, except when the truth interferes with a constructed reality based on miscues driven by deception. In this instance, I was having what is irreverently known as “A Coming to Jesus Meeting” with my client, an attorney. Seasoned and successful attorneys retain an expert well in advance of filing suit. The expert, supposedly, teams with the attorney, and perhaps other experts to inform the attorney regarding the strength or weakness of the case. Two things can go wrong during this exercise: One, the expert isn’t expert enough in the process or in…
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Signs, Signs: Everywhere There are Signs!

Insurance, Legal
In this matter, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Florida Outdoor Advertising Association (FOAA), and Citizens for a Scenic Florida (Citizens) were caught in a quagmire of legal lawsuits regarding the appraisal of trees in front of billboards along Florida’s scenic highways. In Florida, there is a legal right of a billboard owner to have 1000 feet of clear sightline distances. These clear sightline distances may be divided into whatever visual corridor the billboard owner desires; however, most owners of billboards opt for 1000 continuous linear feet of clear sightline corridors. If a tree or other vegetation obscures the face of the billboard within that sightline distance, the owner of the billboard has a right to prune or remove the subject tree, provided an application to do so is…
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