Mazurkiewicz v. Country Mutual Insurance Company et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that there will be a final pretrial conference in this matter on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in courtroom 16-South. The parties shall be prepared to address all the matters set forth above as well as the pretrial compliance, including any motions in limine. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 12/23/13. (LAH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
COUNTRY MUTUAL INS. CO,
Case No. 4:11CV2089 RWS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before me on a review of the memoranda filed by defendants in
response to my December 20, 2013 Memorandum and Order. Defendant Safeco
argues attorney Gerard T. Noce will testify as an expert witness about plaintiff’s
vexatious refusal to pay claim and Safeco’s handling of plaintiff’s claim even though
he has no experience in the insurance industry. Apparently, plaintiff also intends to
offer an attorney as her expert witness on the same subject. While industry experts
may be relevant to an insurance dispute, see Cedar Hill Hardware & Constr. Supply
Inc. v. Ins. Corp. of Hanover, 563 F.3d 328, 337 (8th Cir. 2009), there is no
indication here that attorneys qualify as such experts merely by virtue of their
representation of insurance companies or by their work as a special master
mediating insurance disputes. Therefore, at the pretrial conference, I expect both
parties (Safeco and plaintiff) to provide me with copies of cases from within the
Eighth Circuit permitting attorneys to testify as experts under these circumstances as
it is my job to serve as gatekeeper of expert testimony even if parties do not object.
Moreover, defendant Country Mutual’s explanation of why it designated
plaintiff’s counsel Jerry Klein and its own attorney David Butsch as potential
witnesses does not address or solve the conflict and ethical issues that arise from the
situation. I expect plaintiff and defendant Country Mutual to address the conflict
and ethical issues on the record during the pretrial conference and to explain on the
record how each intends to resolve these issues in compliance with the rules of
professional responsibility. In addition, if disqualification of any attorney is
required as a result of this issue, then I expect the new attorney to have entered an
appearance by the trial date and to be present at the pretrial conference. The mere
fact that disqualification of trial counsel may be required due to conflict issues is not
a valid basis to continue the trial of this matter as these issues were known, or
should have been known, to counsel well before now and were capable of being
resolved in a timely manner had they been properly raised by the parties.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that there will be a final pretrial conference
in this matter on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 16-2-
South. The parties shall be prepared to address all the matters set forth above
as well as the pretrial compliance, including any motions in limine.
RODNEY W. SIPPEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 23
day of December, 2013.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?