In 2009, Plaintiff alleged he was injured when a medical transport company’s driver negligently moved the vehicle as Plaintiff was exiting. Although Plaintiff alleged to have an independent witness that corroborated Plaintiff’s story, the driver for the medical transport company maintained he did not move the vehicle while Plaintiff was exiting. The Insurer conducted its own investigation, which revealed inconsistencies in the version of events told by Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s “independent” witness, as well as long criminal histories for both. The Insurer also found another witness that corroborated the driver’s testimony that the accident never occurred. Suspecting fraud, the Insurer retained Dan Thenell to investigate Plaintiff’s claim.
After an in-depth and thorough investigation of the circumstances that allegedly caused Plaintiff’s injuries, public records searches and reviewing both Plaintiff’s and his witness’s history of crime and fraud, Dan discovered that Plaintiff had been found guilty in several criminal activities, including a similar workers’ compensation fraud claim. Dan also discovered that both Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s “independent” witness were registered sex offenders and had lived at the same residence for 2 months.
Plaintiff moved to voluntarily dismiss his suit and Dan sought attorney fees and enhanced prevailing party fees. The court found the evidence—especially the concealed shared residence of Plaintiff and his witness— demonstrated the claim was brought in bad faith and that the Plaintiff knew the claim was meritless. Consequently, the court granted costs and attorney fees, as well as enhanced prevailing party fees.
Body Shop Fraud
During a separate coverage investigation, Dan Thenell discovered that the insured’s boyfriend, who was insured by another company and was the owner of a body shop, had damaged his car intentionally to defraud his insurance company by collecting payments for the repair work.
Dan was retained by the boyfriend’s insurer to pursue a lawsuit against the boyfriend and the body shop for payments previously made by the insurer. The insured’s wife refused to cooperate with the investigation by avoiding process servers and failing to appear for two subpoenaed depositions. Ultimately, alternate means were employed to effectuate service for a third deposition, for which she finally appeared. She confirmed the intent to defraud.
At arbitration, Dan obtained a verdict finding the boyfriend and body shop committed insurance fraud. Ultimately, the arbitrator found in favor of Dan’s client and awarded damages and costs against the insured.