ILNews

Federal judge decertifies class in hail-damage suit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

ADVERTISEMENT