Law360 reported yesterday that State Farm settled a RICO lawsuit against it for $250 Million. I previously have noted this amazing, made-for-movie case in Did State Farm Buy Its Way Out of a Billion Dollar Judgment.
As noted just last week by Law360:
Groups with ties to State Farm strategized to avoid disclosing contributions that ended up in the campaign coffers of a judge who ultimately helped knock down a $1 billion judgment against the insurer, according to a trove of documents that may serve the important role of outraging jurors in a trial starting Tuesday even if it doesn’t turn out to show illegal acts, experts say.
In a class action brought on behalf of millions of its policyholders, State Farm is accused of collaborating with advocacy groups to handpick Lloyd Karmeier to run for an Illinois Supreme Court seat because of his sympathy to tort reform, and then funneling money through interest groups to his successful 2004 campaign.
After being seated, Justice Karmeier allegedly worked to overturn a $1.06 billion award for millions of State Farm customers who said the insurer let them down by fixing their crashed cars with lower-quality aftermarket parts instead of genuine parts.
Emails and memos revealing donor strategies to fly under the radar of disclosure requirements could be a boon to plaintiffs because they are likely to anger jurors, even if the defense argues they don’t show illegal activity, experts said.
“You’re going to have to get these jurors very mad — which might not be that hard, because nobody likes insurance companies. And people like lobbyists and lawyers almost as little,” said trial lawyer Simon Bloom of Bloom Parham LLP, who teaches courses on trial tactics.
Obviously, rather than go through this very public trial and expose Staten Farm’s embarrassing methods to “fix” the outcome of a bad trial result, it settled the case. I applaud all the attorneys who have worked on this aftermarket parts case, some for over twenty years.
This case is just another addition to the rap sheet of one of America’s most iconic branded insurance companies. This is similar to the Jewish Lawyers List case I reported about in Hindin v. State Farm – The Landmark Claims Practice Case That Few Know About Finally Ends.
State Farm has many bright and well-meaning employees. Sometimes, some of them—especially in management—make horrible decisions, as exemplified in these two cases. I am certain it is embarrassing for many at State Farm and some may even gleefully applaud that the company was caught doing these misdeeds.
Sadly, many other insurance companies are engaged in similar secret claims conduct intentionally designed so that policyholders get less than what they bargained for at the point of sale. These lawsuits are important and should be encouraged because they expose what many current insurance regulators are apparently accepting as the status quo.
Merlin Law Group attorneys are routinely engaged in lawsuits exposing improper conduct by insurance companies. If you are a person with knowledge of unethical and improper actions by insurance companies or a victim of the same, we want to hear from you—especially me! So, you are welcome to call me on my cell at (813) 695-8733 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with anything you would like to share.
Thought For The Day
“Never argue with someone who believes their own lies.”