Federal judge decertifies class in hail-damage suit

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On order from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, an Indiana judge has decertified the class in a lawsuit against State Farm following a 2006 hail storm in central Indiana.

Policyholders with three different State Farm insurance companies brought a proposed class-action lawsuit in 2007 alleging breach of contract, bad-faith denial of insurance benefits, and unjust enrichment. The homeowners sought damages and an injunction requiring State Farm to re-inspect all the class members’ roofs pursuant to a “uniform, reasonable and objective” standard for evaluating hail damage.

In 2009, Judge William Lawrence of the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Indiana, granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in part, defining the class seeking injunctive relief as all State Farm insured homeowners who submitted roof damage claims under their policies who didn't receive an entirely new roof at the insurer's expense, minus any applicable deduction or depreciation.

In February 2011, the 7th Circuit reversed, finding the case isn’t appropriate for class certification under Rule 23(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It ordered the District Court decertify the class, which Judge Lawrence did Tuesday. The named plaintiffs in the suit may proceed on their claims individually.

In addition, those plaintiffs sought a stay of the proceedings on their individual cases because they are planning on filing a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Lawrence denied that motion.

“The Court believes it is in everyone’s best interests for the individual Plaintiffs’ cases to proceed, especially in light of the substantial time that already has passed since the events that led to this case occurred,” he wrote in the order in Cynthia Kartman v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 1:07-cv-474. “While the Plaintiffs apparently disagree, they make only a vague assertion regarding the ‘case management difficulties that will be presented’ in the event that the United States Supreme Court grants the Plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari and ultimately reverses the ruling of the Seventh Circuit. Whatever hypothetical difficulties those might be, the Court believes they are outweighed by the very real fact that this case was filed over four years ago and arises out of events that took place over five years ago.”

Judge Lawrence also ordered a notice to be published in the Indianapolis Star no more than seven days from June 14 alerting those who may have been a part of the class that the class no longer exists and the time to file an individual suit is limited.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues