Start Date: 6/10/2021 12:00 PM PDT
End Date: 6/10/2024 5:00 PM PDT
Sponsor: WDTL Auto & Trucking Committee
Credit Card Payments Only
1 CLE credit
WDTL Members: $25
Non Members: $40
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Once upon a time… civil rules required timely disclosures of expert opinions and the damages claims they supported. If disclosures were not made timely, expert opinions and the damages claims could be stricken. Then, Jones v. City of Seattle (2013) held courts must evaluate the Burnett factors before striking. Eight years later, absent a finding of willfulness (which is tough to demonstrate) and no lesser sanctions (which are as abundant as coffee shops in Seattle), late disclosures are rarely stricken. Savvy attorneys have learned to use Jones to their advantage.
At this Lunch & Learn we will discuss a particular strategy where an early policy-limit-demand is declined because the currently disclosed damages and expert opinions do not appear to approach the policy limits. In such cases, suit is usually filed shortly after the incident and is followed quickly by what appears to be an unsupported demand for policy limits. Then, shortly before trial (often mere days before the discovery cutoff) new disclosures and expert opinions suddenly appear alleging hundreds of thousands and often millions of dollars in damages that had only previously been hinted at and sometimes never mentioned at all. Most judges today will not strike these late disclosures. Many will only give limited time to ramp up and defend. Plaintiff will aggressively accuse defense counsel of being dilatory, lazy, and puppets of a greedy insurance industry—when they created the problem and often had the opinions in their pockets for months, even years. Welcome to 2021.
Levi Bendele, Partner, Holt Woods & Scisciani LLP
John Barton, Associate, Holt Woods & Scisciani LLP
Levi Bendele is a civil defense attorney who defends insureds and insurance companies. He worked for State Farm claims in the late 90s and for the last 20+ years has defended a variety of cases, including automobile liability and UM/UIM, premise liability, construction injury and defect, premises liability, HOA litigation, professional liability, and insurance matters involving EUOs, PIP, coverage, bad faith and IFCA claims. He has been a member of WDTL since the early 2000s, was formerly a board member, and currently heads the Auto and Trucking Practice Group.
John Barton is licensed to practice in state and federal courts in Washington. Earlier in his career, John worked as a staff attorney for the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Western District of Washington. Thereafter, he represented homeowner and condominium associations across western Washington in matters including general HOA liability and governance, collections, and foreclosure. Currently, he defends a variety of cases, including automobile liability and UM/UIM, premise liability, HOA litigation, timber trespass, and adverse possession.