Dear AllStateFarmBureauHome Mutual Insurance Company:
Thank you very much for the personalized holiday email that just arrived in my inbox. I'm sure I speak for all of your panel defense counsel, Nationwide, in expressing appreciation for your season's greetings and message of thanks.
I especially appreciated your reminder that your company is undergoing a litigation crisis, as is the entire insurance industry, as is the United States of America. Who knew? In the spirit of the holidays, I will surely remain conscious of this as I work with you in the coming new year to control unnecessary costs while providing the most vigorous defense to all of your insureds. As you pointed out in your message, this is surely the best way to ensure a happy and productive holiday season to all concerned.
Of course these are not mutually inconsistent goals, nor is your requirement that I discuss legal issues that do not apply in my state in each and every generic report (apparently drafted by an attorney in California, but certainly one versed in the nuances of North Carolina insurance and tort law) that I send to you, as required, each and every month whether or not anything is happening, in each and every one of the cases that you have referred to me.
I also appreciated your holiday reminder that it is inappropriate that I give gifts and gratuities to your employees. This year, the reminder strikes home more forcefully than ever before, as my niece has informed me that she deserves a Dora the Explorer Castle of Multiculturalism. Since this year I will not be plying your underpaid employees with gifts of cognac and Dean & Deluca cheesecake, as I haven't in the five years you've been sending me these holiday reminders, I believe that my niece is going to strike it rich come December 25.
Perhaps most of all, I appreciated your reminder that it is inappropriate for me to send holiday cards to your employees, as their religious and cultural sensibilities may be at risk.
In light of your message of holiday cheer, I have determined that from now on it will be inappropriate for me to pick up lunch and the like for your employees when I meet them for mediations, depositions, and trials. I'll still pay for the lunches of course, but be assured that in the new year my policy will be to add your employees' tab and my own to my firm's bill at the end of the month. Also, because at this time of the year (as at all times of the year) it's so important for us to avoid the appearance of favoritism and inappropriate gift giving, I'm going to start billing for drives under fifteen minutes, all mileage no matter how slight, and all parking expenses no matter how trivial. Previously I'd written these expenses off as a matter of goodwill, but now I see that this sort of thing could be construed as an inappropriate gratuity. Thank you for pointing that out.
Season's greetings to you as well,