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Old 07-02-2009, 06:51   #376
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What would be more telling is not who got what (harm) but who's insurance company paid what.

Insurance companies tend to go for compromise solutions so it is not any indication of innocence or guilt, but if an insurance company thought there was zero liability, they might fight a 3/4 million dollar judgement.


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Everyone sued everyone and the case was settled:

Thornton's son gets $760K

Webber gets $18K

Dinius gets $13K

Perdock gets 0

Of the 4 insurance policies involved, one belonged to a guy named James Walker - the "lookout" on the power boat.

These amounts are, of course, prior to attorney fees. It is unusual for a civil case to be settled prior to resolution of a related criminal case. Of course, in this criminal case Dinius waived his right to speedy trial and in any event, the insurance companies didn't see any liklihood of something helpful coming out of the criminal process.
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Old 08-02-2009, 15:17   #377
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What would be more telling is not who got what (harm) but who's insurance company paid what.
My understanding from press accounts is that all four companies paid out their policy limits in pro rata settlement of the claims:

Perdock's policy - $300K
Dinius' policy (homeowners) - $300K
Webber's policy - $100K
Walker's policy (presumably homeowners) - $100K

Why the reported settlement numbers total $791K instead of $800K, I don't know. Probably some kind of adjustment so that Dinius' and Webber's carriers wouldn't have to contribute to the recovery of their respective insureds. Obviously, the prevailing view was that Perdock's claim for damage to his boat was worth 0.
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Old 08-02-2009, 21:19   #378
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Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
My understanding from press accounts is that all four companies paid out their policy limits in pro rata settlement of the claims:

Perdock's policy - $300K
Dinius' policy (homeowners) - $300K
Webber's policy - $100K
Walker's policy (presumably homeowners) - $100K

Why the reported settlement numbers total $791K instead of $800K, I don't know. Probably some kind of adjustment so that Dinius' and Webber's carriers wouldn't have to contribute to the recovery of their respective insureds. Obviously, the prevailing view was that Perdock's claim for damage to his boat was worth 0.
There might have been an arbitrator or mediator's fee that came off top. Just guessing.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:18   #379
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There might have been an arbitrator or mediator's fee that came off top. Just guessing.
I doubt that you could reach this kind of result through aribration; and 9K would be an outrageous fee for a mediator in most states ....... but, in California, who knows? In any case, it would be very unsual to report anything other than gross settlement amounts.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:52   #380
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Respectfully disagree. Insurance companies have intercompany arbitration agreements. Much faster and cheaper than the court system. They should know. Further, many parties (claimants) realize that faster and cheaper resolutions can be had in arbitration. Arbitration is frequently the preferred method when policy limits have been tendered and the only issue is how to divy it up.

$9,000 is pretty steep for an arbitrator's fee, but then at $300 -$400 an hour it goes fast.

Personally, I would expect a mediator's fee to be larger than an arbitrator's fee, because an arbitrator merely makes a decision. A mediator has the tougher job of getting all the parties to agree, i.e., takes more work. But I agree that this case was likely not mediated. More likely arbitrated. But one really never knows. The fee suggests mediation because, yes, it is big--assuming our guess is correct that $9,000 off the top really is a fee of some sort.
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Old 20-02-2009, 10:01   #381
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The family of the deceased women killed in the accident with Perdock is going public with their opinion that Dinius has been unfairly charged. Also, they are writing letters directly to the judge asking that the charges against Dinius be reduced or eliminated. The family members are convinced that Perdock was the cause of Thornton's death.

Boat crash victim's family: "Wrong man charged" - 2/19/09 - San Francisco News - abc7news.com

As the news report points out, this is more than a little unusual.

The video has a clip showing the prosecutor denying that there were any witnesses who saw the nav lights on the sailboat and, of course, in the next clip the video shows a witness stating that they saw the sailboat with both the nav and the cabin lights on before the crash.
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Old 20-02-2009, 11:44   #382
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Thanks Hiracer, the prosecutor has proven that either:

1. He is incompetent as he is not aware of the evidence in the case.
2. He is dishonest.

In either case, it does not bode well for a reasoned decision with respect to the public interest in continuing this prosecution.

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Old 20-02-2009, 12:35   #383
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One of the earlier video clips talks about how the alcohol blood test for Perdock has a lab date of the next day. The police investigators went through the effort to show that this date was a mistake, that the lab must have actually meant that test was administered a little before midnight on the night of the accident. The results showed no alcohol.

Next clip shows passengers in Perdock's own boat telling newsreporters that Perdock did not leave the scene of the accident until well after midnight, meaning no way was he at the hospital giving blood at the time the investigators allege.

Also, the prosecutor relies on pictures taken the next morning of the sailboat's electrical panel showing the light switchs in the off position. But then the investigators admit that the boat was unsecured the night before, that anybody had access to the boat.

And then, there's the investigators refusing to take statements from witnesses who saw the sailboat with its lights on.

But the best one is the prosecutor saying on film that he doesn't know what a safe speed is for a motor boat on the lake.

This case involves the investigators, the prosecutor, and the judge, all working in concert to get Perdock off. I include the judge because he should know better than to delay Dinius's trial so that the statute of limitations for Perdock's manslaughter lapses before Dinius's trial is over.

Everything that the investigators, the prosecutor, and the judge have done is inexplicable except when viewed as an effort to get Perdock off. It really is remarkably transparent.
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Old 20-02-2009, 13:31   #384
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Only because there’s not much left to talk about with this case until May:

1. The reason I said that arbitration was unlikely is because arbitration is essentially an informal trial in which the various parties attempt to prove liability and damages in pretty much the same way they would in civil court. Perdock’s boat was indisputably damaged as a result of the collision and yet he got zero. In arbitration this would mean that the arbitrator found the collision to be 100% his fault. If an arbitrator decided that Webber and Dinius have no liability to Perdock, how could he then decide that they are liable to Thornton?

2. Of course, you could arbitrate just damages. But why? Thornton’s damages obviously exceed the combined policy limits. Webber’s boat is presumably totaled and you can argue about its value, but not much. And I guess, Dinius was injured, but not permanently. So, his damages should be fairly easy to estimate.

3. It all sounds like a negotiated settlement to me (with or without a mediator) in which the various carriers sought to eliminate the risk of excess verdicts against their respective insureds. But then again, this is California, so who knows?
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Old 20-02-2009, 13:44   #385
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Reading this thread and the news clips definitely has not helped my blood pressure And, exactly how do we separate these officials from a street gang.. by the uniforms they are wearing?....

It is a sad state of affairs... I guess we have left Barney the "good cop" irretrievably behind.

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Old 20-02-2009, 14:47   #386
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In arbitration this would mean that the arbitrator found the collision to be 100% his fault. If an arbitrator decided that Webber and Dinius have no liability to Perdock, how could he then decide that they are liable to Thornton?
1. There is a reason why the root word for arbitration is arbitrary. It may mimic a trial in process but it need not in result.

2. It is possible that Perdock did have damages awarded to him but after offsetting his liability to the other parties, he netted zero.
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Old 20-02-2009, 14:59   #387
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Reading this thread and the news clips definitely has not helped my blood pressure And, exactly how do we separate these officials from a street gang.. by the uniforms they are wearing?....

It is a sad state of affairs... I guess we have left Barney the "good cop" irretrievably behind.

Sailndive
I'm telling ya, there's a book in this case. I've half a notion to do a book myself, except I can't afford the time to get down there to start interviewing people. But there definitely is a book if somebody wants to cover this case.

I wonder if the local library would be 'allowed' to stock it??
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Old 20-02-2009, 15:25   #388
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Oh, I left out one other inexplicable fact about this whole case.

I kid you not. The police 'investigators' of the accident were all subordinates of Perdock. They worked for him.
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Old 21-02-2009, 05:38   #389
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1. There is a reason why the root word for arbitration is arbitrary...
I suspect you may have your etymology a little mixed up.
See the Latin for 'arbiter', 'arbitrate', etc.
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Old 22-02-2009, 00:21   #390
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Gord,

You are absolutely correct about the etymology. I should have said that it is no accident that arbitration and arbitrary share the same root word.

The root word, arbiter, means to decide, and that's the core purpose of arbitration--to just reach a decision, preferably a quick one. No more. Even if the decision is arbitrary, OK, so long as a final determination is reached.
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