A Texas law firm has filed a class-action complaint, claiming that Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company has been using unqualified expert witnesses to drive up litigation costs.
The Estes Law Firm is a Texas law firm that practices personal injury law. Estes Law claims that Allstate has been putting forth unqualified expert witnesses, “knowing they will put out fraudulent information with the intention of preventing justice for the injured citizens of Texas.” Estes Law alleges that Allstate is knowingly conspiring with unqualified “experts” that have repeatedly demonstrated that they have given untrue and fraudulent information.
Estes Law argues that Allstate has the intent to drive up the cost of litigation for Texas citizens and to enhance its own profitability at the expense of injured people.
Estes Law brought its complaint on behalf of itself and all law firms in the state of Texas who represented clients in cases against Allstate and Allstate’s counsel and spent time and resources responding to improper controverting affidavits filed by Allstate’s unqualified experts. Estes Law believes that the number of members in this proposed class exceeds 10,000.
The firm is suing for actual and punitive damages.
The Proposed Experts
Estes Law takes issue with three specific experts that Allstate has hired for its cases: Marc Chapman, Jana Schieber, and Rhonda Guitreau.
Marc Chapman has a background as a reimbursement manager at a hospital and runs a consulting firm. Chapman is not a doctor. Allstate has repeatedly hired Chapman to prepare controverting affidavits and offer opinions that medical bills for plaintiffs are too high. Chapman has only sent out bills for hospitals in the Austin area. He has no experience in billing outside of hospitals or experience billing in any other city in Texas. Estes Law listed 13 cases as an example of a few of the cases that have stricken Chapman as an unqualified expert. Estes Law claims that Allstate continues to hire Chapman to prepare controverting affidavits to harass and delay lawyers who represent plaintiffs.
Jana Schieber worked as a nurse in the Dallas area in the 1990s. Allstate has retained Schieber to opine about billing rates for orthopedic surgeons, orthopedic doctors, primary care doctors, chiropractors, radiologists, diagnostic testing facilities, and other medical providers. Estes Law listed 10 cases as an example of the many cases where Schieber’s opinion has been stricken. Estes Law notes that all of Schieber’s controverting affidavits are nearly identical and they rely upon an online database called “Context4 Healthcare.” Estes Law claims that Allstate continues to hire Schrieber to harass and delay lawyers for plaintiffs.
Rhonda Guitreau is a former hospital administrator from the Dallas area who Allstate has presented as an expert medical billing consultant. Guitreau had no experience billing outside of the hospital setting or working in any area outside of Dallas. Estes Law listed 10 different cases where Guitreau’s affidavit was stricken. All of Guitreau’s controverting affidavits are nearly identical and rely upon an online database called “Context4 Healthcare.” Estes Law argues that the only reason that Allstate continues to hire Guitreau is to harass and delay the lawyers who represent plaintiffs.