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Apparently, VLC Stands For “Victorious Legal Case”!

, , , , , , | Legal | CREDIT: MeowSchwitzInThere | July 27, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a legal nature. It is not intended as legal advice.

 

I’m a lawyer. A client comes in with a seemingly simple auto collision. The client was hit, and the other driver got out and said something like, “Oh, my God, are you okay? I’m so sorry! I dropped my phone and reached to get it…” The client had a dashcam that recorded the whole thing, including the admission of guilt. Easy client, right?

It turns out that the admission was really important because the type of accident didn’t make a “determination of fault” easy. (Imagine a rear-end collision at a red light as an easy determination, but a collision at a four-way stop sign as a hard determination.) When the cops showed up, the police report found both drivers at fault AND did not mention any statements from the other driver.

But we have our admission, and my client’s damages are above the other guy’s policy limit. So, I send a demand to the insurance company for policy limits. Note that the insurance company has an obligation to negotiate in good faith, which becomes important later.

The lawyer from insurance reaches out and says (basically):

Insurance Attorney: “Look, my client says they were driving safely, and the police report says shared fault.”

The initial offer is like ten grand.

Me: “Yeah, but my client had a dashcam and it recorded your client admitting fault.”

It’s important to understand that this is before dashcams are common. It isn’t my first case with a dashcam, but it might be my third or fourth. No mention of the dashcam was made on the police report.

The insurance attorney says (I imagine while twirling a dumb mustache):

Insurance Attorney: “Interesting, can you send me a copy of the video?”

I say sure and send it over.

Insurance Attorney: “I can’t open this!”

I send him a link to VLC Media Player.

Me: “It’s a weird extension, and Windows Media Player won’t play it. But VLC will. Just follow the installer instructions and it should play with no problem.”

Insurance Attorney: “I’m not installing something to watch your alleged dash cam video. Send me a file I can play if you want me to consider it.”

This makes me unhappy, but I try again.

Me: “It will take less than a few minutes to install, and then you can watch the video and listen to your client admit fault.”

Insurance Attorney: “We are done here until you send something I can play.”

Cue malicious compliance music: “Country Grammar”. Start a super cool montage of me going through other client files. Stop the montage as I open a file and my face is bathed in a golden light radiating from an old Memorex CD.

I’ve found a DIFFERENT dashcam video that does not contain any sound but can be played with Windows Media Player, AND it is close enough to my current client’s facts that if you weren’t paying attention, it could pass. [Insurance Attorney] just asked for “a file” he could play, right?

I send it over.

Insurance Attorney: “Wow, no sound. Guess you’re done, buddy.”

So, I sue. During discovery, I send a CD over which included the ORIGINAL video AND a copy of VLC. He must ignore it because he doesn’t say anything about it.

During a pretrial motion hearing, I play the video for the judge. The judge might have heard the other lawyer’s jaw hit his desk.

Insurance Attorney: “Your honor, this is not the video he sent to me!”

In my mind’s eye, I see the malicious compliance death star preparing to fire.

Me: “Judge, I thought he might say that. Here is a copy of our emails where I described the video, provided the video, and sent instructions on how to play it. Here is a copy of the CD I sent with discovery, which also has the video and a copy of VLC. Finally, here is a copy of the unrelated video which I sent to fulfill his request for ‘something he could play’.”

[Insurance Attorney] asked for a recess. Because he refused the initial demand of policy limits, I told him I would argue that he did not negotiate in good faith. We settled for well above policy limits. The client was very happy.

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