A Texas law firm has dropped a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing Allstate of regularly calling unqualified expert witnesses.
The Estes Law Firm, based in Richmond, Texas, filed the suit in January 2021 and represented nearly 10,000 Texas lawyers and law firms. The suit accused Allstate of calling witnesses that would drive up litigation costs and delay the justice process for the last four years.
On Sept. 8, The Estes Law Firm v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co. was dropped. The motion to drop did not specify if a settlement was reached.
Three expert witnesses, which the Estes Law Firm claimed as unqualified, were named as defendants in the suit: Marc Chapman, Rhonda Guitreau and Jana Scheiber.
Allstate moved to dismiss the suit in February with the argument that the insurance company did not misrepresent the qualifications of the named witnesses.
An argument arose over the interpretation of Chapter 18 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies code, which The Estes Law Firm claimed Allstate’s expert witnesses ignored, and that Allstate hired witnesses with “no knowledge, skill training, education or experience” to file counter affidavits. The law firm also accused Allstate’s expert witnesses of harassing, delaying and bullying plaintiffs.
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP’s Kent M. Adams represented Guitreau and Schieber, and brought the case to an end when he issued In re Allstate in May and the court clarified Chapter 18 of the code. The court determined an expert witness can file a counter affidavit.
The Estes Firm claimed that Chapman is not a doctor and is unqualified to offer opinions about medical bills. Chapman runs a consulting firm. Schieber worked as a nurse in the 1990s and offers expert testimony about billing rates. Guitreau called herself a medical billing expert consultant, but the Estes Firm found her background was in hospital administration.