Eric Dick Takes on Geico for Denying Customer's Claim
If there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's that auto insurance companies are freaking awesome. They universally love their customers, who are legally required to purchase a service they may never actually use, and if a customer does have to pay a claim, insurance companies never bend over backwards to try to weasel out of making a payment. That's why Hair Balls jumps for joy whenever we see auto insurance commercials -- it's such a positive reminder. Especially the one with that fucking lizard. That never gets annoying.
We say all this because we were shocked to learn about a lawsuit filed by Houston attorney (and former City Council candidate) Eric Dick claiming that Geico denied his client's claim on a stolen car because the company's investigator believed Dick's client had staged the theft.
Here's what happened: A guy named Ronald Dell Nunley was convicted of stealing a Saturn Ion belonging to James Steagall in 2011. At one point, Nunley, who worked odd jobs at Steagall's body shop, said that Steagall hired him to "steal" the car.
Steagall was never charged with anything. But Geico knows better than the po-po, and the investigator weighed Nunley's claim, along with the fact that there was no evidence of the Saturn being broken into, and decided the cops didn't know jack, and Geico wasn't going to pay its customer, because its customer was apparently a dirty, rotten, lying fraudster.
"This is the quintessential case of bad faith," Dick told Hair Balls. "...How many people have they done this to that didn't have a lawyer...If they got away with this ten, 15 times, they come out ahead."
And, in case he didn't make his point clear enough, Dick added: "This is bullshit." (Dick was also proud of his press release on the suit, which stated "...denying an insurance claim is so easy a caveman can do it."
Circumstantially, we could see how a determined investigator could cobble a case together: Steagall told Hair Balls he owed between $6,000 and $7,000 on the car. Steagall knew the thief. There was no smashed window or broken steering column. (So apparently, if a car thief isn't a bumbling moron, that expertise can be held against you, the Geico customer.)
The case, filed in Harris County District Court, has since been set for mediation, and Geico's spokeswoman would not comment. So therefore, she couldn't tell us what kind of evidence (if any) its investigator has against Steagall.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.
- State Charges Forward With Licensing Immigration Lockups as Childcare Facilities
Fri., Feb. 19, 8:00pm
Sat., Feb. 20, 1:00pm
Sat., Feb. 20, 7:00pm
Sun., Feb. 21, 6:00pm
- Man Jumps Into Buffalo Bayou Downtown, Feared Dead
- Wanna Make Sure You're Never in a Ted Cruz Ad? Take Off Your Clothes