It was about 25 years ago that Mark Avery first diagnosed “Mardi Gras syndrome.” This condition, Avery writes, “is evidenced by an excessive urge to drink heavily, a desire to attend numerous outdoor events such as parades, and, in some claimants, the ability to perform physical acts their doctors, and certainly their attorneys, never thought humanly possible (i.e., carrying people on their shoulders, running, jumping, twisting and lunging for beads, standing for extended periods of time, etc.).”
A woman who claimed a disability after a knee injury was photographed bicycling on Mardi Gras 2010, according to Deep South Investigations, which tracks and shoots video of revelers doing things their accident, workers’ compensation or disability claims indicate they would not be physically capable of doing.
Avery’s diagnosis is neither medical or psychological; Avery is neither a doctor nor a psychologist. He did not write up his findings for a journal article or popular magazine.
The quote above is from a solicitation letter that Avery, who graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in criminal justice and another in human and social science, sends annually to 600 or 700 businesses, insurance companies and lawyers in and around New Orleans.
With the letter Avery helpfully includes a Mardi Gras parade schedule, and this pitch:
“Insurance fraud is a serious problem. Now is the perfect time of year to use our highly professional and well-trained surveillance investigators to discover claimants who might be engaged in fraudulent claims against your agency or your clients. If you have a case in which you are having serious reservation about the severity of the claimant’s injuries, then give us a call to see if we can help.”
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