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I was extremely disappointed by the unprofessional, baseless, and personal attack which you conducted on Mr. Christopher Collins in your February 2003 story on UnumProvident Corporation ["Disability Disaster"]. I have known Mr. Collins personally and professionally for over 17 years. Mr. Collins is one of the most honest, moral, and compassionate people I have ever met. No one who knows Mr. Collins personally would ever characterize him as “belligerent.” The other derogatory remarks that you made regarding Mr. Collins’s personality and perceptual abilities are also untrue and unfair. Mr. Collins is extremely bright, extremely able, and extremely farsighted. Your article contains no quotes whatsoever that are attributed to Mr. Collins’s colleagues or contemporaries. Instead, you chose only to quote certain individuals who make their livelihood by filing lawsuits against UnumProvident. In other words, you quoted only Mr. Collins’s adversaries. Did it occur to you that these individuals might have their own agenda, which is furthered by leveling personal criticism at Mr. Collins? Have you considered at all the possibility that the “current glare of publicity” (including your own piece) is a marketing tactic on the part of the plaintiffs bar? If so, your article does not reflect any such thought process. Moreover, the fact that UnumProvident settles over 90 percent of the lawsuits filed against it hardly supports your thesis that Mr. Collins and UnumProvident play “hardball” in litigation. A more thorough investigation on your part would have revealed the following: 1. For all of the purple prose that is leveled against Mr. Collins in your article, it is bereft of any examples of “hardball” litigation. You reference the Hangarter [a former chiropractor who sued after her disability benefits were terminated] matter, which is currently pending on appeal. Other than assert that the denial was correct, which the company had the right to do, you do not mention any action taken by the company that could be called “hardball” tactics. Further, UnumProvident only responded publicly after Ms. Hangarter and her attorneys were quoted extensively in the press. 2. Mr. Collins does not personally supervise every piece of litigation involving UnumProvident. Therefore, whatever Mr. Collins’s personality and attitude are perceived to be, they have no relevance to whether some undefined “hardball” tactics are employed in these cases. If you have any shred of journalistic integrity and responsibility, you will apologize to Mr. Collins for this unprovoked and unjustified personal attack on his character and his reputation. Horace W. Green San Francisco Corporate Counsel staff editor and reporter Catherine Aman replies: The story was not, as you assert, written as a “personal attack . . . on Christopher Collins.” Rather it was a close look at the problems faced by the litigation chief at the nation’s largest disability insurer when his docket became the object of media scrutiny. You write that the story contained “derogatory remarks” about Collins’s “perceptual abilities.” In fact, the article characterized him as “smart” and “rigidly loyal.” You assert that “no one who knows Mr. Collins personally would ever characterize him as ‘belligerent.’ ” In fact, everyone I interviewed for the story characterized him this way. Those who agreed to speak on the record included plaintiffs and defense counsel as well as former colleagues. And you say the fact that UnumProvident settles over 90 percent of suits filed against it undermines the idea that Collins and UnumProvident “play hardball in litigation.” In fact, the story said UnumProvident played hardball on the 2.5 percent of cases that go to trial. It was Collins himself who characterized the company’s approach on these cases as using “scorched-earth” tactics. Finally, you note that Collins “does not personally supervise” all UnumProvident litigation. But he is, nonetheless, in charge of the company’s litigation and he sets overall litigation strategy.

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