Monday, February 10, 2014

More Praise From a Loyal Client




The Bricklayer, the Micro-burst, and the Lawyer




Yesterday, I posted some excerpts from an email I got from a former client.  I then sent him the link and said that if I needed to change anything or take it down, he should let me know.  Instead, he sent me even more heart-warming praise. 

The prior posting described my representation of a client whose shop and house suffered severe damage during a thunderstorm/tornado that struck a portion of St. Louis.  The insurance company denied his claim, asserting that the damage was caused by water and not by wind.  The policy did not cover water damage, but it did cover wind damage.

The company relied primarily on the anticipated testimony of their retained expert.  Later, using a sixth sense, I discovered that the expert had lied about his credentials.  Based on that discovery, the insurance company removed him from their list of expert witnesses.

I also learned that his report assumed a certain type of back-fill that allowed a calculation predicting that the shop wall would collapse from hydro-static pressure in a severe thunderstorm.  Working with my expert, I discovered this assumption and could refute it based on Doug's testimony about the fill used in the construction of the wall.  (He had helped build it as a young man.)   I also hired the expert I needed to bolster my client's testimony that his family had survived a tornado.  

I won this case on the science.  And, I tell my students you cannot be afraid of digging into the numbers, the scientific assumptions, or the scientific evidence.  As lawyers, we must operate across disciplines even if that work takes us out of our comfort zones.

We also won because I listened very carefully to my client, who -- despite his modest educational background -- was a very smart and successful guy.  

I aligned completely with him because I could trust him. Earlier, he had perfectly executed a masonry job at my house during the time I spent with my dying mom in Bermuda, where she was getting alternative cancer therapy. Without further input from me, he created a beautiful stone entry to my house.  If I could trust him then, I could trust him when he needed me. 

With that additional background,  here is another quote from my former client. His follow-up email is even more touching, and I hope a "teachable moment" for my students.  I am reproducing it as I got it with just a few changes in punctuation.
Paula
That was a under statement on what you really did!! You took a insurance company and kicked their ass. 
1 You earned my trust.
2 You put your client first, and listened to my story, and trusted me..or you would not of taken the case?
3 You came and visited the property multiple times.
4 You put a game plan together, that made me think WTF, I trusted in you and you were a confident person in your own abilty, I was a bricklayer that did not know that world, when a insurance company told me to clean up and take a few pictures they would take care of everything....Wrong
5 You got me twice the limits of what I was even insured for WTF 
Paula, you did this after everything was cleaned up, and the house was half ass liveable, you sifted through what few pictures I had taken, Found the Wholy Grail....The pictures of all the burn piles of branches that were laying around the house? You were smart enough to look past the house.Then took it upon yourself to recreate the sceen WTF. 
You hired the man that invented Dopler Radar.WTF that is what Kicking an insurance company ass is all about!! You were in a different league on that one...I still remember the phone call when you said, Doug, Less Lemon went through the storm records on that day and pinpointed a Micro burst on top of your house at the time you said it occured WTF, Oh and he was not a witness, that was the first time he had ever been asked to help in a case WTF that was all you.....so anything you ever write regarding my case you have my full permission....forever.....Doug Zeis [St. Louis, Missouri].
Like I said.  Lawyers have an awesome power to help people in ways those clients can never imagine.   I've got a really big smile on my face right now.   

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