Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

'Years of meritless' litigation against Allstate leads to sanctions against 'slumlord' and her disbarred attorney

Attorneys & Judges

By Shanice Harris | Nov 5, 2019

Usdcphiladelphia

PHILADELPHIA - On Sept. 30, a court ordered sanctions against a "slumlord" after “years of meritless, inherently contradictory and ever-changing allegations."

Mary Lou Doherty had sued Allstate Indemnity Company after she claimed the company was responsible for compensating her for neglect and unkempt conditions that caused Radnor Township to revoke her rental licenses. 

But Judge Gerald Pappert, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said that wasn't the case, issuing sanctions against the self-described "slumlord" and noting that the case never should have been filed.

Doherty owned and operated many properties over a 45-year span. She has had many run-ins with Radnor Township over the conditions of her properties. 

Doherty has three degrees - including a law degree from the University of Virginia - but picked Joseph Mirachi as her lawyer. Mirachi was later disbarred by the state Supreme Court for conduct unrelated to Doherty's lawsuit.

The court determined her lawsuit was meritless. Allstate’s policy covers sudden and accidental loss to a property, not vandalism or damage caused by tenants. According to court filings, Doherty claimed the damage was caused by “a rogue Radnor Township inspector.”  But her story never stayed consistent, stated the court.

"Doherty is intelligent — and quite experienced at working the system," Pappert wrote.

"She is skilled in deception, practiced at obfuscation and imbued with an unshakable belief that she can scheme or argue her way out of anything.  What’s worse, she believes that she can abuse her law license, and the law itself, without question or ramifications.  

"This entire case was her way to try to con Allstate into paying for damage most likely caused by Doherty’s own neglect of her properties, but certainly not caused by a “sudden and accidental loss” as defined by the policy."

Pappert also ordered Doherty and Mirachi to pay Allstate's costs and attorney fees.

Eastern District of Pennsylvania / Civil Action No. 15-05165

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