Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Company had taken a back seat (perhaps the trunk) to most other insurance companies who fought the good fight on sinkhole lawsuits. Prior to the two cases it has tried this year, I am not aware of any case where they actually went in front of a jury. Since the year began, Tower Hill has taken two cases to trial, and has lost another. This one was in Polk County, as opposed to last January, where the case was pending in Hernando County. By most Florida sinkhole maps, both counties are prone to both sinkhole claims and sinkhole lawsuits.
Two interesting things about this case, which is still on review by the Court and any appellate activity. First, Tower Hill changed horses within weeks of the trial. I do not know why, nor would I speculate specifically. I will say that in my 15 year tenure previously representing insurance companies, this was an extreme rarity. Generally speaking, if personalities can be kept out of claims decisions, there is nothing that can happen in short periods of time before a trial that would justify a choice like that. Introducing new counsel is an uphill battle; new counsel often lacks the nuance of the case. Sitting with witnesses, thinking about cases over and over again to developing a strategy, is what wins close trials. Handing the case to a new lawyer is like handing someone the leash to a dog and walking away. The expecting thing, too is that the new, losing law firms often flyspeck the file and find a source to blame the previous law firm. Let's hope these defense attorneys' don't try that.
Second, Tower Hill must have found the final solution on sinkhole lawsuits, to be as bold as it was in the trial. Apparently, the defense of the case by Tower Hill required no witnesses. Excuse me... Yes, I am saying Tower Hill felt so comfortable with its position, its defense attorney called no witnesses in the defense of a sinkhole claim. Wow. Breath that in. Man, they must have had something in their briefcase they didn't pull or someone made a metric booh-booh. Again, I admit to trying more than a half dozen cases, where I never called a defense witness (and won them all). But, for an insurer to never put a witness on the stand to explain why, or a scientist who would explain the reasons. I just hope the lawyer for Tower Hill did not try and make scientific arguments because he would have looked foolish. I don't know all the details, but wow, do lawyers love to talk about a fallen colleague.
Again, I look forward to my current case list set for trial, where Tower Hill is our opponent. Interestingly, in one of them, Tower Hill just recently admitted total, comprehensive fault. The remaining details are more procedural. The next one against them in June looks like there is virtually nothing left for them to defend.
Let's hope our clients find their Easter eggs soon. Happy Easter. TC