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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nevada Insurance Dept. to Settle with Bail Bond Companies

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the State of Nevada may settle with two bail bond companies, All Star Bail Bonds Inc., and A Bail Bonds Inc. After six years of intense legal battles, the state is ready to agree to pay a $300,000 settlement to the two Las Vegas bail bond companies and two agents. The state Board of Examiners, which consists of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state, will decide today whether to accept the $300,000 offer of judgment made by the two companies. If not, the case would go to trial on Monday in Las Vegas, exactly six years after it was filed. It is expected to last three to five weeks.

The dispute started in the summer of 1998 when the state Insurance Division, which has authority over bail bond companies, suspended All Star's license, alleging that some of its agents roughed up customers, even pointing a gun at them and threatening to kill them in disputes over the bail. The license was suspended without a hearing. The company went to court and the license was reinstated. The disciplinary case was settled years later without any party admitting fault. The civil suit accuses the state of defamation, abuse of process, international interference with contract, violation of the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, and constitutional violations. The suit said an investigation by state agents was improper and was aimed at putting the companies out of business.

Each of the 178 counts carry up to $50,000 penalties, and if the state loses a count, it could be liable for the plaintiffs' legal fees. Senior Deputy Attorney General Bob Auer said it was a good settlement for the state. "It is our belief that the plaintiff has incurred attorney fees that would dwarf this number ($300,000)," Auer said.

Monday, May 15, 2006

End of Session Report

The Missouri General Assembly adjourned last Friday. A report of the bail bond bills are as follows:

SB885-Failed to make it out of committee

HB1997-Never received a hearing in the House of Representatives.

SB895-This was the insurance regulation bill. Parts of SB885 and HB1997 were added to this bill in the House. The bill was voted out of committee, but never made it to the floor for a vote.

Details on the contents of these bills were discussed in previous posts.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Hearing-Insurance Regulation Bill

The House Insurance Policy Committee met last night and held a hearing on SB895. The Department of Insurance said it had grown to over 170 pages. Speaking in favor of the bill were the Department of Insurance and bail association lobbyist, Steve Carroll. Several insurance providers also generally supported the bill, with several speaking in opposition to particular passages. I spoke in opposition to the newly considered substitute language in the bill. Representative Brian Yates, chair of the committee, said that bill will be voted out of committee later this week. See my previous post for information outlining my concerns about this new language.