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Home / Insurance / Appointment of judges and what qualifications play a role in a court of law? | Property Insurance Law Team Blog

Appointment of judges and what qualifications play a role in a court of law? | Property Insurance Law Team Blog



I received a number of comments and private messages about last week's post, Do Appraisers Legally Need to Be Licensed Adjusters in Florida . One commenter raised the question of whether judges must be licensed as adjusters. That question seemed new. I can not find anything that suggests that a judge must be licensed. In fact, the policy does not require the judge to be licensed. No regulation on point requires a judge to be licensed.

If the assessors can not agree on a judge, what do the parties argue for the judge about the qualifications of the judge to be appointed?

I wrote about this eight years ago in Umpire Selection ̵

1; Can a neutral judge really be elected . I encourage readers who are interested in this topic to read the entire post as I highlight an insurance company lawyer's view on the matter. But I also wrote:

Is any judge really neutral? I'm sure many judges answer this question with a clear & # 39; yes & # 39;. as a judge? & # 39; or & # 39; who. would you propose as a judge in this case? ” I usually ask about the case and especially the valuers who have already been selected before I answer the question. Then I do what I expect everyone else to do but am afraid to admit, I decide who can be a favorable judge, screen out those who will probably benefit the insurance company and finally note those who seem neutral. But my answer is always speculation.

Some judges are infamous fifty fifty judges. It's not neutral. It's cowardly.

Some judges are very knowledgeable about a given construction area or type of damage. But preconceived notions and opinions are sometimes wrong. It is difficult to get a person who knows that he has the right to admit when he is wrong or that someone else may understand the problem a little better. It is difficult to teach humility during the assessment debate.

No party to an assessment wants a person who is biased and negative by his side before the assessment begins. Neutrality, honesty and justice are the first qualities that all good judges must have. Competence and diligence is a close second. A recent case involving the appointment of a judge highlighted these criteria where a court noted:

Risen Sun and Cincinnati agree that their respective valuers, David Phalen and Mike Brueggemann, can not agree on a judge and request that the court should elect a judge. judges from six proposed candidates. They disagree only on which candidate to elect as judge. Through the extensive information on the issue, the parties have essentially reduced their proposed candidates as follows: Risen Sun proposes that the court appoint former judge Mike Streit as judge … and Cincinnati proposes that the court appoint Bradley Stephens as judge …

]. ..the court finds that both Judges Streit and Stephens would appoint appropriate judges in this case. There is nothing in the document to suggest that either Justice Streit or Mr. Stephens would be unable or unwilling to perform the judge's responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner. The court gives Mr. Stephens advantage based on his professional experience as an adjuster, valuer and judge who handles complex problems with property losses in the insurance industry. The only actual objection to Mr Stephens by Risen Sun is that he may be biased given that he earns his main source of income from working and handling claims on behalf of insurance companies. The court is not willing to stereotype Mr. Stephens based on this single factor, especially when Cincinnati has stated that Mr. Stephens has been appointed and / or accepted as a judge for both insured and insurance companies … 1 [] 19659008] The policyholder's losing card 2 noted and claimed that the judges do not have to be independent experts:

First, Justice Streit is competent, and Cincinnati admits that Justice Streit would be impartial. After serving as a judge for nearly ten years and serving as a judge for twenty-seven years (including ten years as a judge in Iowa's Supreme Court), Justice Streit has experience dealing with hail losses involving windows and associated costs due to damaged windows, exact questions in this assessment … Before Brueggemann gave Mr. Brueggemann's proposed panel of judges, reviewed and confirmed Mr. Phalen that each of his proposed judges were experienced and knowledgeable in dealing with hail losses that involved windows. It is unreasonable to suggest that Mr Phalen "confirmed" that Justice Streit was not qualified to serve as a judge, but still recommended him as a judge.

Furthermore, it is unnecessary for the judge to be an independent expert as proposed. of Cincinnati. Both Cincinnati and Risen Son have appointed their valuers, who are both subject matter experts when it comes to assessing hail losses and assessments. However, the role of a judge in an assessment is not to prove or disprove any damage or to calculate the extent of the damage. and their differences. This is more akin to judging the opinions of competing experts than to preparing a third, independent opinion or assessment. This role is suitably filled by an arbitrator with experience in weighing the parties' competing submissions, even when the subject is complex or technical. . . . Consequently, in view of his extensive experience and undisputed competence to play such a role in this case, the court grants the plaintiff's request to appoint the Honorable John P. Leopold (ret.) As judge. 3

Judges do not have to to be licensed. But licenses, credentials, experience, and a solid reputation for being fair can go a long way in appointing a person as a judge. judges' integrity. Their son, yes.
—Leo Durocher
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1 Risen Son Christian Village v. Cincinnati Ins. Co. No. 1:20-cv-00007 (S.D. Iowa August 3, 2021).
2 Risen Son Christian Village v. Cincinnati Ins. Co. No. 1:20-cv-00007, [Doc. 38 Reply in Support of Motion for Appointment of Umpire] (S.D. Iowa).
3 PB Prop. Holdings, LLC v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co. 16-cv-1748, 2018 WL 10879450,
* 2 (D. Colo. January 3, 2018) (slip copy).


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