Today, in response to my blog post entitled “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court,” Progressive released a statement saying that ”Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant” in my sister’s case. I am not a lawyer, but this is what I observed in the courtroom during my sister’s trial:
At the beginning of the trial on Monday, August 6th, an attorney identified himself as Jeffrey R. Moffat and stated that he worked for Progressive Advanced Insurance Company. He then sat next to the defendant. During the trial, both in and out of the courtroom, he conferred with the defendant. He gave an opening statement to the jury, in which he proposed the idea that the defendant should not be found negligent in the case. He cross-examined all of the plaintiff’s witnesses. On direct examination, he questioned all of the defense’s witnesses. He made objections on behalf of the defendant, and he was a party to the argument of all of the objections heard in the case. After all of the witnesses had been called, he stood before the jury and gave a closing argument, in which he argued that my sister was responsible for the accident that killed her, and that the jury should not decide that the defendant was negligent.
I am comfortable characterizing this as a legal defense.
I wrote about this case on my blog because I felt that, in the wake of my sister’s death, Progressive had sought out ways to meet their strict legal obligation while still disrespecting my sister’s memory and causing my family a world of hurt. Their statement disavowing their role in this case, a case in which their attorney stood before my sister’s jury and argued on behalf of her killer, is simply infuriating.
Progressive, which apparently sucks at being an insurance company, definitely sucks at the #1 rule of the Internet, as famous coined by Wil Wheaton: Don’t be a dick.
Every step Progressive takes in this mess is only progressively more dickish: There is the initial dickishness of defending your client’s killer in court.
Then there is the dickishness of smearing the dead woman’s brother for having done nothing but tell the truth.
And then there is the dickishness of deceptively claiming not to have defended your client’s killer when you know full damn well what you did and why you did it.
You can buy all the cute commercials in the world. You’ll still be a dick.
Progressive’s behaviour in this case has been repugnant, and unless and until the company does the right thing, it is unworthy of any decent person’s business.