1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
2 SOUTHERN DIVISION
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:06CV457
WILLIAM MULLINS, et al., )
STATE FARM FIRE AND )
8 CASUALTY COMPANY, et al., )
9 Defendants. )
11 VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION OF ROBERT KIMBERLEY KOCHAN
12 (Taken by Plaintiffs)
13 Raleigh, North Carolina
14 Thursday, November 30, 2006
23 Reported in Stenotype by
V. Dario Stanziola, CSR, RPR, CRR
24 Transcript produced by computer-aided transcription
2 ON BEHALF OF THE PLAINTIFFS:
3 DEREK A. WYATT, Esquire
Barrett Law Office, P.A.
4 404 Court Square North
Lexington, Mississippi 39095
5 (662) 834-2376
6 MARY E. McALISTER, Esquire
Nutt & McAlister, PLLC
7 605 Crescent Boulevard, Suite 39157
Ridgeland, Mississippi 39157
8 (601) 898-7304
9 GARY YARBOROUGH, Esquire
Hesse & Butterworth, PLLC
10 841 Highway 90
Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi 39520
11 (228) 466-0020
12 ON BEHALF OF THE DEFENDANTS FORENSIC ANALYSIS AND
ENGINEERING CORPORATION and WILLIAM C. FORBES:
LARRY G. CANADA, Esquire
14 Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith
One Shell Square
15 701 Poydras Street, Suite 4040
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139
16 (504) 525-6802
17 ON BEHALF OF THE DEFENDANT
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY:
SHERRIE L. MOORE, Esquire
19 Allen, Cobb, Hood & Atkinson, P.A.
2512 25th Avenue
20 Gulfport, Mississippi 39501
JOHN GIRDLER, CLVS, Videographer
1 VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION OF ROBERT KIMBERLEY
2 KOCHAN, a witness called on behalf of the
3 Plaintiffs, before V. Dario Stanziola, CSR, RPR,
4 CRR, Notary Public, in and for the State of North
5 Carolina, held at the Hilton North Raleigh, Oakwood
6 Room, 3415 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, North
7 Carolina, on Thursday, November 30, 2006,
8 commencing at 8:13 a.m.
1 INDEX OF EXAMINATIONS
By Mr. Wyatt PAGE 6
INDEX OF EXHIBITS
NUMBER EXHIBIT MARKED
6 Forensic 10: United States District 5
Court Subpoena in a Civil Case dated
8 Forensic 12: A compilation of documents
with the first being handwritten notes
9 dated 11/9/05
10 Forensic 13: A yellow lined paper with
the handwritten word drat three times
11 with a signature
12 Forensic 14: Forensic Analysis &
Engineering Report dated October 20,
13 2005 of the insured Thomas and Pamela
Forensic 15: Forensic Analysis &
15 Engineering Report dated February 10,
2006 of the insured Alfred Pepperman
Forensic 16: Forensic Analysis &
17 Engineering Report dated January 9, 2006
of the insured Julie Nelson
Forensic 17: Forensic Analysis &
19 Engineering Report dated November 30,
2005 of the insured Robert Erichsen
Forensic 18: Forensic Analysis &
21 Engineering Report dated October 6, 2005
of the insured Archie and Eltie Flowers
Forensic 19: Forensic Analysis &
23 Engineering Draft Report dated October
13, 2005 of the insured Charles A. Smyly
Forensic 20: Forensic Analysis &
25 Engineering Report dated November 21,
1 (Forensic 10: United States District
2 Court Subpoena in a Civil Case dated
3 11/29/06 marked for identification, as of
4 this date.)
5 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going on the
6 record. The time on the monitor is 8:13
7 a.m. This is the video deposition of
8 Robert K. Kochan taken by the plaintiffs
9 in the matter of William Mullins, et al.,
10 plaintiffs versus State Farm Fire and
11 Casualty Company, et al., defendants
12 under the jurisdiction of the United
13 States District Court for the Southern
14 District of Mississippi, Southern
15 Division, Civil Action Number 1:06CV457.
16 This deposition is being held at the
17 Hilton North Raleigh, 3415 Wake Forest
18 Road, Raleigh, North Carolina on
19 Thursday, November 30th, 2006.
20 My name is John Girdler, I'm the video
21 specialist. The court reporter is Dario
22 Stanziola. We're from Huseby,
24 Counsel will now state their appearances
25 for the record and the court reporter
1 will swear in the witness.
2 MR. WYATT: I am Derek Wyatt of the
3 Barrett Law Firm. I represent the
4 plaintiffs Terry and William Mullins.
5 MS. McALISTER: Meg McAlister for the
7 MR. YARBOROUGH: Gary Yarborough for the
9 MS. MOORE: Sherrie Moore for State Farm
10 Fire and Casualty Company.
11 MR. CANADA: Larry Canada for FAEC.
12 ROBERT KIMBERLEY KOCHAN,
13 having been duly sworn, was examined and testified
14 as follows:
16 BY MR. WYATT:
17 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kochan.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. My name is Derek Wyatt. I'm with the
20 Barrett Law Firm in Lexington, Mississippi, and I
21 will be asking you some questions today pursuant to
22 this subpoena and Notice of Deposition that has
23 been served on you this morning.
24 After I finish asking questions, counsel
25 on the other side of the table, Forensic's counsel
1 and also State Farm's counsel, will be afforded the
2 same opportunity. And then if I have some
3 follow-up questions after that, I'll have some
5 Would you please state your full name for
6 the record.
7 A. Robert Kimberley Kochan.
8 Q. And what is your current residence
10 A. 3743 Chesapeake Avenue, Hampton,
12 Q. And how long have you lived at that
14 A. Approximately three years -- I'm sorry,
15 two, two-and-a-half years.
16 Q. And before that where did you live?
17 A. In Raleigh.
18 Q. What was your address in Raleigh?
19 A. 7608 Wingfoot Drive.
20 Q. And how long did you live there?
21 A. Approximately eight years.
22 Q. Are you married?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What is your wife's name?
25 A. April.
1 Q. And where does she live?
2 A. In my residence in Hampton, Virginia.
3 Q. What is your current business address?
4 A. 3401 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 101 in
6 Q. North Carolina?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And how long has that been your business
10 A. Since about the first of February of this
12 Q. '06?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And what was the address before?
15 A. 5301 Capital Boulevard, Suite A, Raleigh,
16 North Carolina.
17 Q. So you moved from Capital to Atlantic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Are there any other offices of Forensic
21 A. In North Carolina or at all?
22 Q. At all.
23 A. Yes, we have established opportunity to
24 do business in North -- in Virginia, Florida and
1 Q. Do you have -- do you have offices
2 located in those locations?
3 A. We've had physical offices. Right now we
4 have a virtual office in Orlando and in Hampton
5 with a P.O. Box, and we have a P.O. Box in
6 Mississippi, Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
7 Q. Mr. Kelly's residence?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. So you don't have any other offices
10 presently other than the one at 3401 Atlantic
11 Avenue, Raleigh?
12 A. That's correct.
13 MR. WYATT: All right. Let me make some
14 recitals here into the record. This
15 deposition is being taken pursuant to
16 notice and to a subpoena which we've
17 marked as Forensic 10, which was issued
18 pursuant to Rule 45 through the Eastern
19 District of North Carolina, United States
20 District Court and served upon
21 Mr. Kochan.
22 Q. And Mr. Kochan, I'm going to hand you a
23 copy of what's been marked as Forensic 10 and ask
24 you, were you served with that subpoena?
25 A. Effects -- I believe similarity of one,
1 those are the only possibilities, aren't they?
2 A. I either became aware of it by reviewing
3 the document and then reacted to it or Nellie
4 Williams or someone informed me of it.
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. Yeah.
7 Q. And if you became aware of the problem
8 while you were peer reviewing it, would you affix
9 your signature to it anyway?
10 A. Like I said, the -- that was an
11 electronic signature that was performed
12 automatically before the peer-review process was
14 Q. Oh, so the signature went on every time
15 before you even peer reviewed?
16 MR. CANADA: Asked and answered.
17 Q. Is that correct?
18 A. Not every time, but I'd say a majority of
19 the time because it was done in that cycle when the
20 invoices were performed, again, for -- on the
21 particular reports that I was scheduled to peer
23 Q. And that's very few?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. Overall it's very few?
1 A. That is correct.
2 Q. All right. Who were you talking with at
3 State Farm at this time? Who were you
4 communicating with?
5 MS. MOORE: Object to form.
6 Q. And the time period of course is
7 October 24th, 2005.
8 A. Well, Mark -- as I said earlier, Mark
9 Wilcox was my primary contact person. That's it.
10 Q. You had not talked with Lecky King?
11 A. As of this date? Yes, I had.
12 Q. You just testified a little while ago you
13 had, didn't you?
14 A. Yeah.
15 Q. In fact, there was a big blow-up with
16 Lecky King, so that's one of the people you'd been
17 talking with at State Farm, right?
18 MS. MOORE: Object to form.
19 MR. CANADA: Object to form.
20 A. Well, I had spoken to her one time.
21 Q. Okay. All right. You had spoken to her
22 and then you arranged to meet with her in person
23 already? Before this e-mail was ever generated,
24 you had it in your mind that you were going to
25 drive to Biloxi, Mississippi and meet with Lecky
2 A. Well, I had already in my schedule that
3 started back in September that I was going to be in
4 Biloxi shortly after this date and, therefore,
5 that's when I spoke with Lecky -- Lecky a few days
6 prior to this and told her that's when I would like
7 to meet with her.
8 Q. Okay. But let's see if we can get a
9 chronology here. You had already had a phone --
10 all of this prior to October 24th, 2005, 6:32 p.m.,
11 as indicated on Forensic 9, A, you had had a
12 conversation with Lecky King where she had
13 communicated she was upset about Forensic's
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. B, Brian Ford had severed his employment
17 and he was the principal engineer on site for
18 Forensic in Biloxi, Mississippi, his employment had
19 been severed?
20 A. I'm not going to verify that because
21 we -- Jack Kelly came aboard simultaneously, so
22 there was no lapse in coverage, in professional
23 engineering coverage.
24 Q. I thought you told me a minute ago
25 that -- that Mr. Ford became absent between your
1 conversation with Lecky King by telephone and your
2 meeting --
3 A. Well, you suggested that and I -- I'm not
4 sure, as I said. The record would show that I said
5 I'm not positive.
6 Q. I thought you affirmed that that
8 A. I don't believe so. And if I did, I --
9 I'm incorrect.
10 Q. So maybe he was discharged after your
11 meeting with Lecky King?
12 MR. CANADA: Object --
13 A. He was never discharged and I want to
14 make that very clear for the fifth time. He was
15 asked to continue with our firm. He chose to
16 resign and move away because he didn't want to be
17 in the -- a marketing/sales role.
18 Q. Was there any other issue with Mr. Ford's
19 employment other than what Lecky King had
20 complained about?
21 A. Absolutely not. And I would have -- I
22 would have kept him on as an engineer.
23 Q. So if he wasn't there and it wasn't
24 because of any other reason, then the only reason
25 we can pinpoint today is that Lecky King was upset
1 with him being there?
2 A. No, not at all.
3 Q. Okay. All right.
4 A. He wasn't on State Farm's work any longer
5 because Lecky King was upset with the quality of
6 his work and she had -- she in her role had
7 absolute authority to say, I don't want that
8 engineer or that engineer on my job. That's a
9 normal process in the engineering environment.
10 Q. And she exercised that authority in this
12 A. She did exercise it. And I -- but I did
13 not let Brian go because of that. Brian had an
14 opportunity to continue to make a very good wage
15 with me from that point forward. He chose not to.
16 Q. She told you, no more Brian Ford on State
17 Farm's jobs?
18 A. Yes, she did.
19 Q. And you said, we'll do that?
20 A. First I said, we're going to look into it
21 and we're going to evaluate it and find out if he
22 made mistakes. He did make mistakes, all right?
23 And he made improper technical judgments in my
24 opinion. And that's why we reacted to it. And in
25 my opinion, she was -- she had a valid complaint.
1 Q. Did you have those complaints before you
2 talked to Lecky King or afterwards?
3 A. I didn't know about the problems until
4 after she brought it to our attention.
5 Q. So you didn't have any problems with
6 Mr. Ford until you talked to Lecky King?
7 A. I had no knowledge of his tendency to be
8 biased toward individuals who lost their homes.
9 Q. In favor of coverage?
10 A. Correct.
11 MS. MOORE: Object to form.
12 Q. And that's what Lecky King was
13 complaining about?
14 A. That's not what she was complaining
15 about. She was complaining about very specifically
16 and I made -- I made a point of saying, we are
17 going to do this in an unbiased fashion, unbiased
18 manner. She made a very specific point of saying
19 the information that we supplied with our report
20 didn't technically justify the conclusions. If we
21 had been able to, which we did in other matters,
22 show technically through photographs, through
23 documentation that -- that wind destroyed the
24 residence before the water was even involved, all
25 right, then she accepted that. The record goes to
1 show there's a number of reports that we turned in
2 that -- that were accepted by State Farm under
3 those premises.
4 Q. So you took -- you conducted your
5 engineering practices according to what State Farm
6 told you to do?
7 A. Absolutely not.
8 Q. And in fact, you told your principal
9 engineer that he couldn't work on their files
10 anymore because they said, we don't want him
11 working on them?
12 A. Well, that part is correct.
13 Q. And then after they said that, you went
14 and discovered for the first time that suddenly you
15 thought Mr. Ford had made errors, but you'd
16 never --
17 A. No. No, the chronology is incorrect
19 Q. Excuse me, sir. You'd never complained
20 to Mr. Ford before Lecky King talked to you about
21 any of Mr. Ford's activities?
22 A. I wasn't aware of the problem.
23 Q. And then after your -- between this
24 telephone conversation with Lecky King and your
25 meeting with Lecky King, and let me just make sure
1 I'm clear about this, did you or not -- did
2 Mr. Ford sever his employment with Forensic in that
3 time period?
4 A. I don't recall. I'll have -- I don't
6 Q. Okay.
7 A. I'd have to check his payroll record.
8 Q. By the time you wrote this e-mail on
9 October 24th, 2005, you had had phone contact with
10 Lecky King concerning the fact she was upset with
11 Forensic's reports?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And in this e-mail, your last line
14 says -- well, would you please read that into the
15 record, sir, the last line of this e-mail.
16 A. I suggest that the conclusion be altered
17 to indicate that it was a combination of both and
18 not primarily the wind.
19 Q. So you specifically directed or advised,
20 I suppose, rather than -- not directed --
21 A. I advised.
22 Q. -- that the report be altered?
23 A. That the report be adjusted to more
24 technically represent what the information -- the
25 evidence showed.