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DEFENSE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
Letter From The President
I hope the first quarter of 2017 treated you well. In this letter I share some thoughts on innovation and provide a report on an Amicus Brief filed by the NMDLA, a recent NMDLA Student Chapter event, and the first “Brownbag Roundtable.”
In March, the NMDLA filed an Amicus Brief in the case Beaudry v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, et al.; No. S-1-SC-36181. The case is before the New Mexico Supreme Court on a Writ of Certiorari to review the Court of Appeals’ opinion in Beaudry v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, et al., 2017-NMCA-016. The case arose from the termination of Craig Beaudry’s “Agent Appointment Agreement” with Farmers. Beaudry pled contract and contract-based tort claims as well as a cause of action for prima facie tort, which was based on the allegation the Defendants “intended to injure” Beaudry in terminating the Agreement. The district court denied summary judgment on the prima facie tort claim, which went to a jury and resulted in a verdict in favor of Beaudry. The Court of Appeals issued a three-way split opinion affirming the verdict. The NMDLA advocated for reversal arguing the Court of Appeals’ decision threatens to “upend decades’ worth of contract and tort jurisprudence on which ordinary persons rely, and threatens to burden the courts of this state with unceasing litigation by grafting a tort claim into every contract entered into in this state or by its residents.” The New Mexico Supreme Court approved the filing of the NMDLA’s Amicus Brief, which was written by Mark D. Standridge of Jarmie & Associates, and filed on March 7, 2017. The brief can be found on the NMDLA website.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with members of the NMDLA Student Chapter during a mixer event at the UNM School of Law on March 2nd. This was a refreshing experience that reminded me of the wealth of enthusiasm and talent that our young (and future) members bring to the table. In my first quarter letter to the members I suggested innovation and adaptability may be key to flourishing in the current culture of the insurance defense industry. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, Millennials (adults between the ages of 18-34) have become the largest generation in the American workforce. Millennials have a different perception of work-life balance and reject the “old school” notion that you get to have a certain quality of life only after you have “paid your dues.” Millennials are also a much faster moving generation than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. They have uber-strong technology skills, which tends to make them more efficient, and they are much more willing to change jobs, if not careers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The bottom line is, Millennials reflect a reality the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers must face, and embrace.
In that regard, the NMDLA Young Lawyers Division and the NMDLA Student Chapter present an opportunity for all of us to interact with Millennials who are (or will become) members of the New Mexico Bar. The NMDLA Young Lawyers Division will be hosting another “YLD mixer” in the next few months, so please stay tuned for details. On the national level, the DRI Young Lawyers Committee will hold the 2017 Young Lawyers Seminar in Austin, Texas from June 21 to June 23, which includes a session that will address the “generation gap” between young lawyers and clients, experts, judges, jurors, and opposing counsel. The DRI Young Lawyers Committee includes members from across the country practicing in a wide variety of substantive areas in civil defense. I encourage the young lawyer members of NMDLA to consider joining the DRI Young Lawyers Committee to take advantage of its outstanding CLE programs, information exchange, and networking opportunities.
Finally, we launched our telephonic “Brownbag Roundtable” program in February, which got off to a good start. This program is intended to enhance communication among our members. The first topic was “Demands that insurers not issue 1099s in connection with settlements.” We had seventeen registrants and an informative discussion that may lead to a full-blown CLE on the subject. Please consider joining us for the next telephonic “Brownbag Roundtable”, which will be held in the middle of April. Watch for email notices announcing the topic and providing a link to a call-in number and access code.
Courtenay L. Keller, Esq.
 See Fry, Richard. “Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force.” Pew Research Center, May 11, 2015. http:// www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers- as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/.
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The New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association has been selected by DRI, the Voice of the Defense Bar, to receive the 2016 SLDO Diversity Award. The award was presented at the DRI Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon, October 20th in Boston.
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Defense News is NMDLA's quarterly newsletter containing important articles on the latest developments in the law that is circulated to all members of the New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association as well as all New Mexico judges, libraries and major newspapers.