Metro Mini Storage Liable To Nine Plaintiff-Customers After Fire Outbreak At A Commercial Storage Facility

Jeffrey Raizner

Doyle Raizner LLP has filed suit against Metro Mini Storage (“Metro”) for premises liability violations and actions of negligence surrounding an intentional and deliberate act of arson at the storage facility. Our nine clients were Metro’s customers and entrusted the company with their valuable personal property.

Metro marketed and promoted safe, secure, climate-controlled storage units, falsely representing a secure surrounding fence and site monitoring by an on-site guard and various types of surveillance. Accordingly, Metro entered into contracts with each plaintiff whereby it guaranteed these safekeeping initiatives in exchange for timely monthly payments.

October 27, 2013, fire burned across Metro’s premises, destroying units containing our clients’ property that together valued over $550,000 dollars. An official investigation ruled the blaze was a deliberate act of arson. Further inspection revealed negligence as a large opening in the fence, which purportedly secured the premises, allowed the arsonist to effortlessly enter and exit the grounds. This hole continued to remain open and unrepaired by Metro for some time.

Metro negligent misrepresentations concerning security measures is also a breach the contractual agreement and created unsafe premises. Owners of property and businesses have a duty to protect customers and tenants from unreasonable dangers, this includes taking steps necessary to learn of and alleviate dangerous conditions.

To make matters worse, following the fire our clients were denied access to their own storag units as they attempted to gather personal belongings. Even after legal counsel was retained to demand entry, Metro continued to prohibit access and turn over property. Instead, fraudulently and with malice, Metro demolished the facility and destroyed the site with our clients’ property still inside.

The defendant’s many violations continue to subject our clients to significant financial harm, all of which remains uncompensated. Our clients’ losses will be addressed and Doyle Raizner LLP will seek the appropriate compensation for this substantial property loss.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by unsafe conditions

AIG Insurance Liable to Fight Attendant for Violations of The Arizona Workers’ Compensation Act Following Her Injuries

Jeffrey Raizner

Doyle Raizner LLP has filed a workers’ compensation bad faith lawsuit against AIG Insurance (“AIG”) on behalf of a plaintiff who experienced denied claims leading to permanent physical damage. This case is filed in United States District Court in Phoenix, Arizona.

Our client, an experienced flight attendant for Mesa Airlines, damaged her lower back while performing routine security checks before a flight began its take-off roll. Her bending-twisting motion while securing a passenger triggered spinal pain and immediately prevented her ability to continue flight management duties. She then experienced a cycle of subpar medical evaluations as both a physician at Concentra Medical Clinic and AIG’s Independent Medical Examiner (IME) concluded she only had a minor strain.

Continuing discomfort compelled this plaintiff to seek her own medical evaluations. Her independent physician found microsurgery was needed to surgically decompress two bulging spinal disks from the accident.

In violation of AIG’s obligation to process our client’s claim in ‘good faith and fair dealing” the insurer ignored the private physician’s findings and wrongfully denied all surgery requests. Good faith actually requires workers’ comp providers seek out and consider any medical evaluations beneficial to the insured. AIG’s illegal outcome-driven approach continued as it filed a Notice of Claim Status form with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) which directly resulted in a rejection of all benefits.

Without assistance, and more than seven months after the incident, our client had no option besides using her own insurance to repair her excruciating disfigurement. She received no reimbursements following the surgery and had to hire a lawyer to secure compensation.

Though this client finally received a binding award from the ICA, AIG delayed another ten months, withholding repayment for the surgery, deductibles, or even her travel costs to the IME examinations that AIG scheduled hundreds of miles from her home. This defendant even benefitted from its unlawful tactics by successfully negotiating for lower payments with the surgeon and

Governor Perry’s Appointment to Lead the Division of Workers Compensation Remains an Unknown

Jeffrey Raizner

Workcompcentral recently released an article discussing Governor Rick Perry’s choice to lead the Division of Worker’s Compensation, Ryan Brennan. But who is Ryan Brannan? The column reveals that many workers’ compensation attorneys in Texas are asking the same thing though those within the state’s insurance industry claim this is a gentlemen with whom  they are very famiiliar.

Governor Perry’s announcement spoke of Brannan’s past as advisor within the Office of the Division of Budget, Planning and Policy. The Governor stated Brannan was “ focused on issues relating to the insurance industry, including workers’ compensation insurance.” However, Brannan’s history suggests otherwise.

Brannan’s Linkedin account shows he worked at a law firm focusing on dispute-resolution, lead a Philanthropic Society for a few years and was a policy analyst for about two. In November of 2011, Brannan joined the governor’s office as an adviser.

Joe Woods, vice president of state government relations at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, admits he worked directly with Brannan on insurance matters, but that none were workers’ compensation issues. Woods considers Brannan a very conservative guy with no hidden motives and went on to say, “I don’t think he’ll be turning over any apple carts with a brand new regulatory philosophy. I think he’ll be fair and do a good job.”

Brannan studied Political Science at Southern Methodist University before obtaining a Masters In Business Administration from the same university in 2009. Before achieving the MBA he received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2006.

Attorney Mike Doyle, one of the founding partners of Doyle Raizner LLP, concedes he hadn’t heard of Brannan and stated, “He’s got his law degree, his MBA, he’s worked in Perry’s office, but what does that mean? For example, in terms of stakeholder meetings, in terms of involvement, they will be there meeting with Rod Bordelon every week. But there’s no indication anywhere yet. I

Commercial Property Suit Begins Against Northfield Insurance For Bad Faith and Insurance Fraud After Plaintiff’s Business Suffered Fire Damages

Jeffrey Raizner

Doyle Raizner LLP has filed suit against Northfield Insurance Company (“Northfield”) and Executive Insurance Professionals (“Executive”), due to the defendants’ violations of Texas insurance laws.

Our client owns a furniture store and purchased insurance to specifically cover business operations, including a furniture showroom building along with a large warehouse that housed  inventory. With full knowledge of how our client’s business was structured and what property he desired to cover, Executive and Northfield still falsely represented that these areas would be protected in the case of a fire.

March 17, 2014, a catastrophic fire broke out at the property, torching the warehouse and showrooms and leaving upwards of $900,000 dollars in devastation. Our client’s valid claim for benefits was denied by Northfield in a letter claiming that only a portion of the property – the showroom – was covered, while the warehouse at the same address was not. The defendants knowingly engaged in acts of clear deception with the intention of our client believing them which also constitutes fraud and violates the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Northfield also breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing  to our client by  refusing to properly investigate and cure the discrepancy and effectively denying insurance benefits without a reasonable basis.

The failure of this insurer to honor its insurance contract has caused substantial damages beyond the costs of repair.  Destruction of the showrooms, warehouse, and its housed inventory, caused significant reductions in building value, monthly income, and level of customer satisfaction. Property damages continue to worsen due to our client receiving nothing to repair even a portion of the ruin. The defendants’ prohibited actions also cause mental and emotional turmoil as our client’s future still hangs in the balances.

The Fire Insurance Claims Practice of Doyle Raizner is pursuing the maximum legal compensation for this client. Our firm enjoys a reputation for case-building strategies that have been successful in holding many of

State Farm LLoyds Sued For Insurance Fraud After San Antonio Wind and Hail Storm Damaged Plaintiff’s Commercial Property

Jeffrey Raizner

Doyle Raizner LLP has filed suit against State Farm Lloyds (“State Farm”) and its assigned claims adjuster for defendants’ violations of the Texas Insurance Code and similar laws designed to protect consumers against fraud and other deceptive business practices.

Our clients, owners of a business complex with a health care center, church, and multiple other tenants, faithfully paid premiums for many years, trusting State Farm would respond  to claims of loss according to its insurance contract. On March 31, 2013, their commercial property was substantially damaged as hail, pushed by substantial winds, tore through Bexar County.

State Farm responded to the claim submittal by assigning a claims adjuster who lacked the level of training necessary to conduct a fair and adequate investigation. Without the proper skill-set this adjuster began denying obvious indications of wind, hail, and water damage throughout our client’s extensive property.  He even went as far as refusing to re-inspect the property after receiving independent storm damage reports composed by both professional engineers and licensed property inspectors.  In the end, though the property damages have been measured to be hundreds of thousands of dollars, the owners received nothing because the insurer’s initial estimate didn’t exceed the policy’s $5,000 deductible.

State Farm violated its duty of good faith fairly and fair dealing to our clients through its refusal to review and consider all evidence supporting our client’s complaints. The Texas Insurance Code demands that those insured receive reasonable explanations for each claim processing decision, but this adjuster’s reason for not re-investigating the property was that State Farm “feels” the claim was properly evaluated the first time. The defendants were well aware of the many risks our clients were exposed to, but acted with conscious disregard of the situation. These actions violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and also constitute fraud.

Our clients continue to sustain damages due to the defendants’ improper denial of claim benefits. Each business tenant

ERISA Is A Shield Preventing Lawsuits Alleging Insurance Fraud, But You May Be Exempted For Its Constraints

Jeffrey Raizner

Many working Americans never hear of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and how it limits compensation actions, until they are denied policy benefits. It’s during these disheartening moments that people realize how economically insecure their futures may actually be. Not only are workers confused by ERISA and its correct applicability, lawyers and judges aren’t always clear on when ERISA preempts common law actions, and when it does not.

ERISA was enacted to ensure that employees receive pension and all other benefits by requiring employers meet a minimum standard of protection. This federal law covers retirement, health, and other welfare benefit plans including life insurance, disability insurance, and health plans.

Though ERISA is beneficial to ensuring broad scopes of protection, when insurance providers wrongfully, improperly, or even intentionally delay and deny benefits, an employee’s ability to sue for damages is restricted. ERISA preemption provides that ERISA “shall supersede any and all State laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan.” This preemption clause is what limits employees legal rights against recalcitrant insurers that deny health, life and disability claims.

If a worker is subjected to ERISA, they can no longer sue in actions alleging:

Fraud Contract Breach The Texas Deceptive Trade Act The Texas Insurance Code Breach of Good Faith and Faith Dealing

Being able to bring a legal claim under laws that prevent unfair business practices –  and do so before a jury –  can be vital to achieving the legal maximum in compensation. This  legal maximum includes; punitive damages, non-economic damages (mental and emotional turmoil), and reasonable attorneys fees.

So, which employment insurance plans fall outside of ERISA? Although ERISA applies to most private employers, regardless of size, the plans exempted include:

Group health plans established or maintained by governmental entities ( all federal, state, city, county and public school and school district employers) Police, Fireman, Teachers, and many more. Policies

KBR and Other Military Intelligence Companies Acting Without Repercussions

Jeffrey Raizner

Le Monde Diplomatique recently released an article discussing the immense freedom private intelligence companies enjoy in maintaining extensive government contracts irrespective of the  activities in which they engage. The article provides that the need for accountability is at an all-time high and begins by discussing the conduct of Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR).

The first situation involves a 24 year-old Pennsylvania native. In 2008, this Green Beret, along with eighteen others, was killed after being electrocuted while showering on military bases in Iraq. These fully preventable deaths were due the improper wiring performed by KBR’s chosen subcontractor.

Four years after these electrocutions, KBR was found guilty of knowingly exposing twelve soldiers to sodium dichromate, scientifically accepted as one of the most potent cancer causing agents on earth, and an Oregon jury awarded the men, all represented by Doyle Raizner LLP, over $80 million in damages as a result of KBR’s misconduct. Two of the twelve Oregon National Guards have died as a result of the toxic exposure.   Last year, KBR was accused on human trafficking twelve men from Nepali, eleven of them were later beheaded. The one survivor is among the plaintiffs in a case currently filed in district court inTexas.

The article reveals that through it all, KBR has profited substantially from the governments “war on terror” in Iraq, to the tune of $39.5 billion over the last decade. The article interviewed Attorney Mike Doyle of Doyle Raizner LLP, lead attorney in the sodium dichromate case against KBR. Mr. Doyle explained that the generous limited liability stipulations make it easy for military contractors to profit while potentially shifting the majority of the responsibility for unlawful behavior back to the government

KBR is one of three private military contractors tried for similar civil and criminal offenses, each of which has had limited to no impact on their contractual relationships with the government.  In one example, CACI has been accused of

Doyle Raizner Introduces New Burn Pit Resources

Jeffrey Raizner

Doyle Raizner LLP is pleased to announce new resources for military members and their families to provide information about burn pit exposure. From 2003 to 2013, thousands of military members were exposed to toxic materials burned on military bases with serious health consequences.

What’s the Background on Burn Pit Litigation?

Government contractors including Halliburton and KBR were given government contracts to dispose of waste on military bases in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The contractors improperly burned material in large open-air burn pits operated close to living and working areas. The result: Soldiers and deployed military members were exposed to harmful fumes and carcinogenic particles.

Doyle Raizner LLP is a leading burn pit law firm, representing military personnel who were negligently exposed to toxic substances. More than 100 cases have been filed throughout the United States against military contractors. In one case, a jury ruled in favor of 12 soldiers (represented by Doyle Raizner) against military contractor KBR in an $81 million judgment.

Every case is different and those who may have been exposed need to understand the risks; the signs and symptoms of illnesses; and their options if they fall ill. Doyle Raizner LLP has prepared interactive resources for military members and their families. The interactive information at Burn Pit Facts explains:

Where burn pits were located: There were 251 burn pits in Iraq and 22 in Afghanistan as of 2010. The largest was at Joint Base Balad. Who was exposed: There were 25,000 personnel on some of the bases where burn pits were located. What was burned: More than 100 tons of potentially hazardous materials were burned daily at some of the bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The materials being burned included heavy metals, medical waste, biohazard materials, banned chemicals, plastic water bottles, asbestos, tires, PVC pipes, pesticides and batteries. The health consequences of burn pits: Health effects include respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, cardiopulmonary disorders, skin problems, autoimmune conditions,

Judge Denies Ace Insurance Attempt To Evade Liability in Arizona for Bad Faith Actions

Jeffrey Raizner

A federal judge recently denied Ace Insurance Company (“ACE”) motion to dismiss after the defendant was sued for bad faith practices following the handling of our client’s worker’s compensation claim.

Nearly 10 years ago, while our client was a hard-working scaffolding technician for Archer Western Construction, he fell at a scaffold site, injuring his right wrist, arm, and shoulder. Our client received surgery on his wrist, but the pain never subsided. In 2012, our client suffered two accidents involving this same hand while playing football and also while catching a falling aquarium filled with tools.

A private hand surgeon found that our client’s original injury had still caused a current need of surgery. Specifically, the physician found tendon or skeletal muscle ruptures which occurred from slow but continuous muscle tears throughout the decade.

Based upon this finding, our client sought assistance through the worker’s compensation process by filing a petition to reopen his prior claim with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), April 9, 2012. This request was forwarded to a third party administrator whose adjuster then engaged in conduct  that clearly aided ACE’s  bad faith practices.

Insurance is a contract  between you and your provider, enforced by rules and laws.  In exchange for  you paying monthly premiums, your insurance company is obligated by law to pay claims properly and promptly in good faith. This makes it “bad faith” and illegal for an insurance company to;

* Undervalue your damages

* Delay the timely payment of claims

* Not consider evidence beneficial to your situation

* Fail to acknowledge and time reply to claims

* Deny payment of legitimate claims without a reasonable basis

* Use harassing, intrusive or demeaning methods or procedures

The assigned adjusted didn’t bother to look at our client’s claim for 11 days and testified that she only spent a couple of hours reviewing it before submitting a denial of behalf of the insurance provider. She

NCAA Leader Testifies Before Senate Committee

Jeffrey Raizner

On the 10th of July, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on college athletics. The goal was to gain insight about recent problems with the NCAA with the hope of getting some resolution. Unfortunately, none of the sides could seem to make any headway.

The main witness in the hearing was NCAA President Mark Emmert. He did pledge to support some changes during the hearing, such as offering players “scholarships for life” and changing their position in a controversial concussion lawsuit. Emmert backed away from the legal position that NCAA has “no legal duty” to student athletes, and he recognized that NCAA’s attorneys had misstated NCAA’s position that it does indeed have responsibilities to student athletes. But the senators has plenty of other questions for Mr. Emmert that didn’t have easy answers.

At least three senators questioned Mr. Emmert on how the NCAA handles sexual harassment in its programs. According to a report commissioned by Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), more than 20% of schools give the athletics department oversight in these cases when they involve athletes.

The committee chairman, Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) also gave notice to Mr. Emmert that, assuming Democrats continue to run the agenda of the committee, “…we want to make this a continuing subject of this oversight committee. We have oversight of sports. All sports. We have the ability to subpoena. We have a special investigative unit. We are very into this subject. This is part of a process here.” He also made remarks that university presidents might also be subpoenaed in future hearings.

The committee also strong questions about topics ranging from parent stipends so they can attend games to whether the role of the NCAA President is even necessary. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a former Stanford football player, emphasized that problems with adequately compensating student athletes have been endemic in the NCAA even back when he was playing 20 years ago.

In the end, the

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