Say hi to my daughter: the tale of a grumpy Allstate lawyer
This is an excerpt from my trial diary day 3. In most car crash cases, the jury is never told about insurance. This old rule makes no sense in our current world. This case is brought against Allstate for failure to pay an underinsured motorist claim (UIM). The person who hit M did not have enough insurance. They paid what they had. Now M seeks to recover the balance from her own UIM coverage. Allstate has a "sue us" clause in their policy. This means, if they don't agree to pay the UIM claim, they force their own insureds to file a lawsuit. This is what happens here.
I tell Judge D that we need the Allstate adjuster to go on before the neurosurgeon they've hired, James Blue. Plus he’s retired anyway so what’s the big hurry. Jodi (the Allstate lawyer) protests but up goes Tracey Smith (the adjuster) and boy is she unhappy. Jodi objects to every single question asked. Except what is your name. Tracey is Miss Smarty Pants one moment and clueless the next. At one point, ask her how many UIM claims she handles at any one time. She smirks back: “one.” Sweetly lob it back, well then within a single year. To which she replies 200.
We break in the middle of this scintillating testimony for lunch. Cristina has come to visit (and bring me a cookie). We are back in court waiting for the judge and Cristina takes a picture of me to post on her instagram. We are teasing each other about this. I turn to Jodi and introduce her sweetly to Cristina. In response Jodi actually cuts her eyes at and barks at my girl. Says don’t take any picture of me. Cristina reassures her that she only took a picture of me because of my cute red jacket. Jodi swivels away. Snap just like that. Which frankly is unprecedented. Even in the heat of battle, every single defense attorney I can ever remember introducing to my kids, has always been gracious to them.
Jury files in. Complete my apparent torture of Tracey Smith. Watch with a Mona Lisa smile. As she spits and scratches. All twisted up on my delicate hook.
Photo: Cristina's instagram post which clearly does not have Jodi in it.