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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. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  4. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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