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Dumpster diver snagged with MLB player data

A 38-year-old Chicago man was arrested last week for allegedly stealing folders filled with personal information from the trash--making off with pay stubs, financial records and Social Security numbers of hundreds of individuals, including a star-studded list of about 100 former and current Major League Baseball players.

Authorities working on the case say David Dright may not have known whose information he was taking out of a dumpster near the offices of Northbrook, Ill.-based SFX Baseball Group, which handles contracts for professional baseball players.

Among players whose information was found in Dright's home were: Chicago White Sox slugger Jim Thome, New York Mets outfielder Moises Alou and Mets ace Pedro Martinez.

"He was jumping into dumpsters and walking away with folders," said Detective Adam Hyde with the Lincolnshire, Ill., Police Department, which worked with the U.S. Postal Service, Chicago Police Department and Secret Service to serve a search warrant at Mr. Dright's home, where they found hundreds of sensitive documents that had not been shredded.

Police did not find evidence that Mr. Dright has used the information to obtain credit cards.

As of Dec. 21, he was being held on $225,000 bail in Lake County, Ill., and may face Cook County charges, authorities said.

In an e-mailed statement, Robert Greenwald, general counsel of SFX Baseball, said: "This is part of an ongoing criminal investigation for which an arrest has already been made. Fortunately, it does not appear that any of our clients have been adversely affected. We'd like to commend the Lincolnshire Police Department and Lake County State's attorney's office for all their efforts. We will continue to work to ensure that no identities were compromised."

New hat: Attorney rolls out med mal coverage

Successful trial lawyers and presidents of fledgling medical malpractice insurance companies generally don't have much in common.

But if both happen to be Kim E. Presbrey, they have quite a bit in common. In fact, they're the same person.

Mr. Presbrey is an Aurora, Ill., attorney at Presbrey & Associates P.C. who specializes in workers compensation cases. He also is a past president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Assn. and he recently founded a medical malpractice liability insurance company called Doctors Direct Inc.

State officials said recent legislative changes that increased oversight of doctors and insurers plus modest restrictions on litigation awards--in part due to doctors quitting the profession due to soaring insurance costs--have made Illinois a bit more attractive to underwriters.

Mr. Presbrey said in several published interviews that he believes he can make money underwriting med mal coverage while charging doctors lower rates than they have had to pay the state's dominant med mal insurer.

We can't wait to see whether those savings will be subject to contingent fees.

Santa's whiskers protected

When Santa isn't supervising the elves, entertaining children at the mall or maneuvering his sled onto rooftops, he's negotiating insurance coverage for one of his most valuable assets.

At least that's the way it must be for one of America's most sought after Santas.

Lloyd's of London says it insures the long white beard belonging to Rhode Island resident Brady White.

Mr. White, who bills himself as "Santa to the Stars," has portrayed St. Nicholas in films, television, print advertisements and live appearances. The lengthy list of corporate brands he has helped promote or made appearances for includes Cartier, Neiman Marcus, Paramount Cards and Avon, according to Mr. White's Web site.

His personal appearances have included the homes of actors Kirstie Alley, Rene Russo and Pamela Anderson. Suppose he's privy to whether they've been naughty or nice?

A large part of his successful career climb from generic mall Santa is attributed to growing real whiskers rather than relying on the glue-on type, Mr. White told Lloyd's.

So the Lloyd's underwriters protect his beard should it get damaged by children tugging on it or singed while sliding down a chimney.

Start the music, pour the drinks, buy the insurance

Millions of people planning to host a party this holiday season could be at risk of financial ruin, a U.S. study concludes.

If a party guest drinks alcohol, drives and causes an accident, party hosts can be held responsible in more than 30 states, according to Trusted Choice, the independent insurance agency brand supported by the Alexandria, Va.-based Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Inc.

While most party hosts believe they should be held responsible, many have not taken steps to protect themselves, the study finds.

According to the survey, 56% of those hosting a party between Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl either don't have umbrella coverage or do not know whether they have umbrella coverage, which provides extra liability coverage above homeowners insurance. This means that 28.5 million party hosts are underinsured this holiday season leaving themselves at risk of being sued should the worst occur, Trusted Choice said.

"People don't buy umbrella policies because they think they have enough coverage from their homeowner and auto policies--but they don't," said Madelyn Flannagan, vp-education and research for the IIABA, in a statement. "The high dollar value of jury awards coupled with skyrocketing health care costs means one lawsuit can easily exceed the liability limits on the average policy."

"While you'll never be able to entirely eliminate risks, planning ahead and learning your responsibilities as a host is the best defense," Ms. Flannagan advised.

One way to reduce risk is to stop serving alcohol to party guests if they've had too much to drink, Ms. Flannagan said. "Asking guests to stop drinking at your holiday party can be very awkward. However, protecting your family and your guests is more important than an uncomfortable exchange at the neighborhood party."

Contributing: Roberto Ceniceros, Louise Esola, Mark A. Hofmann and Sally Roberts