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Sunday, January 22, 2012

LincVolt Burned Yet Again - This Time by Insurance Lawyers

Neil Young testing LincVolt - 2008
Photo by Brant Ward / The Chronicle

LincVolt is being burned yet again. This time its by a lawsuit being filed by insurance lawyers related to the disastrous warehouse fire in 2010.

From Neil Young's company sued over Peninsula warehouse fire sparked by hybrid car - San Jose Mercury News by Joshua Melvin:
The company founded by rocker Neil Young to convert his one-of-a-kind LincVolt hybrid electric car is being sued for nearly $500,000 after the vehicle sparked a fire that seriously damaged two San Carlos warehouses in 2010, according to a lawsuit.

The suit, filed Tuesday by Unigard Insurance Co., says LincVolt LLC, which lists Young as an officer, was negligent when it converted the 1959 Lincoln Continental to run on electricity and a biodiesel-powered generator.

"The altering of a gas-powered 1959 vehicle and its components is an extreme departure from what a reasonably careful person would do," Unigard Insurance Co. claims in the suit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court.

"what a reasonably careful person would do"?

We're sorry, but this is exactly what we need -- environmentally safer, alternative forms of transportation.

It's sad that the insurance firm is making its case on the opposite and indirectly discouraging much needed innovation.

Lincvolt is truly revolutionary.

Neil's LincVolt (which happens to be re-powering the American Dream) will be the world's first Series Hybrid Electric car with a generator fueled by cellulosic ethanol from biomass.

It is this attempt by Unigard Insurance Corporation to stifle innovation and discourage risk taking which is so disturbing. Clearly the fire was an accident and not the result of reckless negligence. Unigard Insurance Corporation is attempting to avoid covering an approved claim upon which its contractually obligated.

Most likely, this will turn into a PR disaster for Unigard when other policyholders see how they handle an "unforeseen accident" like this especially when their website encourages potential clients to take out additional insurance for special coverage like breakdown in equipment. (Thanks MNOTR).

The last time we saw someone truly regret filing a lawsuit against Neil Young, was when media mogul David Geffen sued Young in 1983 for $3 million for violating his contract by recording ‘unrepresentative’ albums. Ironically, the lawsuit accused Neil Young of not making Neil Young music, thus becoming the only artist in the history to be sued for not being them self.

Good luck Unigard. Hope you consulted Geffen first.

Or did you check with Jimmy McDonough on what its like to tangle in court with Neil?

Lincvolt long may you run!

You can't burn a dream down...

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At 1/22/2012 10:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil's car directly caused a fire!!
Why shouldn't he pay?

If someone caused your garage to burn down...would you sue?

Of course you would!!!

At 1/22/2012 11:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


if Neil Young's car caused the fire, and he is to blame for this disaster, then why shouldn't Neil pay for the damages?

i love Neiler.....but, c'mon.....let's face facts - neil needs to pay up!

At 1/23/2012 12:44:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Burned but with both feet on the ground

At 1/23/2012 12:46:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

This is a frivolous lawsuit and should remind us all that too much litigation is one of the cancer's of our society ... if Washington was serious about jobs and the economy they'd neutralize the litigation industry. Strikes me that Geffen didn't make out so well suing Neil and I bet these guys won't either. Neil seems like the wrong guy to pick a fight with.

At 1/23/2012 03:17:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

I agree Dan1. Unigard misrepresents their insurance coverage on their webpage for LLCs and other small businesses that look for insurance coverage for their specific needs.

Neil would really be a hero to small business LLC owners by countersuing for fraud and misrepresention. False advertising!

These scam insurance companies get away with their scams because small business owners don't have the legal representation or finances to fight back. So what alternative do they have except to file bankruptcy after they're forced to pay what they thought would be covered by insurance.

At 1/23/2012 09:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher -- sorry, but get a grip. Don't post about things you know nothing about. If you read the article, the insurance company lived up to its end of the bargain. It paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the insured party (i.e., the property owner), which is was it is supposed to do. Then, consistent with normal insurance practice, it is pursuing reimbursement from the third party that actually caused the loss; i.e., the car owner. The idea that this type of customary business lawsuit would "discourage innovation" is bonkers. There does not appear to be any dispute that Neil's car caused the fire. Thus, it should be Neil's group that pays for the loss, not somebody else. This is both fair and consistent with basic business practice in the United States. You kinda sound ridiculous on this one.

-Big Old Rig

At 1/23/2012 09:28:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@Big Old Rig - thanks for reality check.

You're right. We're not a legal or insurance expert, nor purport to be one. Just a regular policy holder most likely like yourself.

We're just putting ourselves in the shoes of the situation.

If someone were trying to do something to make the world a better place and an error / accident occurred which was not egregious negligence, would we drop the hammer on someone?

Of course not.

Would you?


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