I just posted the case management plan and the filings and orders regarding the settlement conference at CreditCourt.
The settlement conference is scheduled for 11/21/08 before a magistrate judge. As we were scheduling the conference, IC System attorney Timothy Grimm wanted to talk to me about settling (as ordered by the magistrate judge).
I sent my settlement demand email on 9/18/08:
11/21 works for me if you prepare the stipulation and I file it. Please let me know and I’ll confirm it with the court.
With regards to settling, I can tell you that RIGHT NOW I’d be willing to settle for $7,500 for all claims/defendants because I’m trying to do some more work on my unfinished house before winter.
This is not a standing offer as I might get funds from other sources. I’m absolutely appalled by the IC System collection practices and I actually would much prefer to take this to the jury, get national attention and hopefully some legislative changes such as increased statutory damages.
I was just out getting lumber and I am trying to take advantage of cooler temps before it rains again, so I’m not usually by my phone during the day. But I check my messages 206-202-4653 frequently.
We had to file a stipulation to extend the time for the settlement conference because attorney Grimm wanted the conference to be on a Friday and the first available Friday was after the deadline on the case management order. Attorney Grimm was supposed to prepare it. Now that I think about it, I haven’t received that filing. And I’ll be damned if I’ll be their unpaid secretary. I was perfectly fine with the dates PRIOR to the deadline.
So I spoke to attorney Grimm on the phone regarding the settlement shortly after 9/19 and he said that $1,000 was the maximum for FDCPA violations PER ACTION.
I’m aware that most rulings provide for a maximum of $1,000 per defendant for statutory damages, but I never saw that it was per action. If so, that means that I’ll have to file 4 more complaints, one for each individual collector.
However, I’m NOT going to settle for $1,000 with IC System. As per Nelson v. Arrow, I’m entitled to actual damages including emotional distress and mental anguish. The Nelson jury awarded over $80K despite NO doctor visit or any documentation. And you better believe that those harassment phone calls stressed me tremendously.
I have NOT received a response to my settlement offer and it’s starting to get cold. In a few weeks, I’ll be done building for the year and they can stick their money where the sun don’t shine. My settlement demand will most definitely be higher at the settlement conference, probably around $15K.
I just the same take it to the jury.
Attorney Grimm said he’d be mailing some cases regarding his argument of $1,000 per action, but I haven’t received anything yet.
On 9/29/08, he filed a motion to allow the IC System insurance adjuster to appear telephonically at the settlement conference:
Come now Defendants and move this Court to allow the telephonic attendance of defendants’ insurance adjuster at the settlement conference scheduled for November 21, 2008 in this Court. While counsel will of course personally appear, Defendants’ insurance adjuster would be greatly inconvenienced by traveling from Connecticut and obtaining lodging in Arizona. She will be available by telephone for the entirety of the conference, and she will participate in good faith to resolve this matter quickly and efficiently.
Today, the judge ordered:
Before the Court is defendant I.C. System, Inc.’s motion for leave to have defendant’s insurance adjuster appear at the November 21, 2008 settlement conference by telephone. The court will take the motion under advisement pending receipt of all parties’ settlement conference statements. Absent further order of the Court, defendant’s insurance adjuster should be prepared to appear in person at the settlement conference.
The million dollar questions:
What is the IC System insurance deductible?
While the Federal Rules require that they disclose insurance information, the I.C. System initial disclosures state: “not applicable”
From the federal rules of civil procedures:
(1) Initial Disclosures.
Except in categories of proceedings specified in Rule 26(a)(1)(E), or to the extent otherwise stipulated or directed by order, a party must, without awaiting a discovery request, provide to other parties:
(D) for inspection and copying as under Rule 34 any insurance agreement under which any person carrying on an insurance business may be liable to satisfy part or all of a judgment which may be entered in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment.
So insurance is “not applicable”, but the adjuster is going to be the ONLY person representing the parties at the settlement conference?
In my limited experience, the insurance deductibles are $10k or more. I really don’t understand what’s going on.
The “party” who is SUPPOSED to attend the settlement hearing is the person who will write the check.
The IC System discovery responses are due on the 10th, so I’ll probably get those next week. I would LIKE to get my 2nd set of discovery requests out on time to have responses before the 21st.
3 Comments »
Filed under: Settlement negotiations