Allstate has reached an agreement with a law firm to dismiss the latter’s proposed class-action lawsuit against the insurer – a lawsuit that accused Allstate of using unqualified expert witnesses in insurance litigation.
Richmond, TX-based The Estes Law Firm originally proposed the class action in January 2021. Proposed on behalf of thousands of law firms in Texas, the lawsuit claimed that Estes wasted time and resources over the past four years responding to the testimony of three allegedly “unqualified” expert witnesses retained by Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company.
Estes also accused Allstate and its experts of attempting to “harass, delay and bully plaintiffs” by disregarding the controverting affidavit requirements of Chapter 18 under Texas’ Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
The proposed class-action lawsuit named the expert witnesses Marc Chapman, Rhonda Guitreau and Jana Schieber as defendants. Estes alleged that Chapman runs a consulting firm and has served as a “reimbursement manager” at a hospital but is not a doctor. The law firm also alleged that Schieber was previously a working nurse in the 1990s, but continued to provide expert testimony about the billing rates for orthopedic surgeons, orthopedic doctors, chiropractors, radiologists and other medical professionals.
But this week, a joint stipulation was filed by The Estes Law Firm and Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance, which informed US District Judge Andrew S. Hanen that they had agreed to dismiss the claims with prejudice.
Kent Adams, a lawyer from Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicer LLP representing two of the defendants, told Law360 that the proposed lawsuit may have been dropped following a Texas Supreme Court ruling in May, in another case Allstate is involved in. The court had ruled that under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 18.001, an expert can file a counter-affidavit based on credentials and education without being a specialized medical professional themselves.
Law360 also reported that the motion filed by Estes and Allstate does not mention whether the two have entered a settlement.