I am writing on behalf of a friend of mine who has been the plaintiff in an ongoing and apparently never-ending wrongful death lawsuit. What I am wondering is how the process of settling a lawsuit works. Specifically, my friend's lawsuit has been dragging on for years - here is a brief timeline of events:
-In 2006 it went to trial and the jury found for the defendant. Upon appeal, the jury's decision was overturned and the judge ruled in my friend's favor.
-The defendants appealed a total of three times and appeared before a tribunal, but the judge's decision to overturn the jury verdict was upheld each and every time.
-The judge in February 2012 gave the insurance company 90 days to settle the case.
-In June, despite the insurance company saying they wanted to settle, no settlement had been reached and they were given another 30 days to settle.
-They were most recently back in court in September and the judge has again given the insurance company another 60 days (until the end of November) to settle the case.
At this point, my friend is beside himself. His attorneys have just filed a new lawsuit against both the insurance company *and* the lawyers for the insurance company alleging emotional distress and fraud for not actually settling the case. But this case keeps dragging on and on and on.
I am wondering if there is any sort of "endgame" whereby the State Attorney General can actually step in and force the insurance company to settle this case?
Every time they go back to court, the judges just keep giving the insurance company more time. My friend has been waiting for years for this case to be over and every delay causes him more stress and hardship.
I am extremely concerned for his welfare and would welcome any sort of information about how much longer this could potentially go on for. I just want to know if there is a point when the State says "enough of this" and forces the insurance company to do what the courts have already ordered it to do.
Thank you for your help!
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ANSWER for "Never-Ending Settlement Proceedings...":
Your frustration and that of your friend is quite understandable. Our policy at ISG is not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be inappropriate.
The United States is based upon 3 levels of government. They are:
1. The Judicial Branch
2. The Executive Branch
3. The Legislative Branch
The system was designed by our forefathers so that each branch would be autonomous and free from interference or pressure from any other of the branches.
Your friend's case is obviously in the judicial branch of government. As such the general manner in which decisions of judges are reviewed is by other judges - normally at each appellate level. As a result your friend's interests will have to be determined in the court system.
It is very unlikely the Attorney General's Office would ever interfere with any judge's decision. As a result your friend is going to have to continue seeking his redress in the court system.
From the facts you present it appears your friend's attorneys are doing all they can, and more, to finalize the matters. Because it is a wrongful death case the attorneys are probably working on a contingency fee basis. As a result they will remain highly motivated to finalize the matter so they can get paid as well.
The accuracy of information provided on this site is not guaranteed. It is generic information for informal purposes only. It is NOT formal legal advice. Your use of this site does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Before relying on any information found in this site you should consult with a licensed attorney in your state. If you are currently represented by an attorney, you should strictly abide by his/her counsel.