John Grisham's The Rainmaker
The film focuses on a young attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon). Desperate for a job, he reluctantly goes to an interview with J. Lyman "Bruiser" Stone (Mickey Rourke), a ruthless and corrupt but successful personal injury lawyer, who makes him an associate. To earn his fee, Rudy is turned into an ambulance chaser, required to hunt for potential clients at a local hospital. Rudy meets Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito), a less-than-ethical former insurance assessor turned paralegal, who has gone to law school but failed the bar exam six times. Deck is resourceful in gathering information, and practically an expert on insurance lawsuits. Rudy manages to get just one case, concerning insurance bad faith. It may be worth several million dollars in damages, which appeals to him because he is about to declare himself bankrupt. He rents an apartment above the garage in the home of elderly Miss Birdsong (Teresa Wright), a client whose will he has been drafting. Rudy, who has recently passed the Tennessee bar exam, has never argued a case before a judge and jury. Rudy and Deck file a bad faith suit on behalf of a middle-aged couple, Dot and Buddy Black, whose 22-year-old son Donny Ray (Johnny Whitworth) is going to die from leukemia. Donny Ray would most likely have been saved by a bone marrow transplant had his medical claim not been denied by Great Benefit, the family's insurance carrier. Rudy finds himself up against a group of experienced and devious lawyers from a large firm that is headed by Leo F. Drummond (Jon Voight), a showman attorney who uses unscrupulous tactics to win his cases. Judge Tyrone Kipler (Danny Glover), takes over the case. Kipler, a former civil rights attorney, immediately denies the insurance company's petition for dismissal. Donny Ray dies, but not before giving a video deposition. The case goes to trial, where Drummond capitalizes on Rudy's inexperience. He gets vital testimony by Rudy's key witness, former Great Benefit employee Jackie Lemanczyk (Virginia Madsen), stricken from the record, and attempts to discredit Donny Ray's mother (Mary Kay Place). Due to Rudy's single-minded determination and skillful cross-examination of Great Benefit's president Wilfred Keeley (Roy Scheider), the jury finds for the plaintiff with a monetary award far exceeding all expectations. It is a great triumph for Rudy and Deck, at least until Keeley attempts to flee the country and Great Benefit declares itself bankrupt, thus allowing it to avoid paying punitive damages to the Blacks, as well as any future judgments in class-action lawsuits. There is no payout for the grieving parents and no fee for Rudy or Deck. Dot Black expresses satisfaction that at least they put Great Benefit out of business, and that it is now unable to hurt other families like hers. Convinced his success will create unrealistic expectations for future clients, Rudy abandons his practice to teach law with a focus on ethical behavior. Rudy wanting to retain a low profile, leaves the legal profession after just one successful case.
The events in this film are representative of the unethical practices of the insurance industry's denying valid claims of policy holders, hoping that they will give up and go away. As represented in this film, insurance underwriters are instructed to deny rather that pay out. This will generate a bonus for the underwriting department employees and benefit the company financial structure. It is all about the Benjamin's.