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Judge allows class action in hail damage suit

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A U.S. District judge is allowing certain State Farm insurance policy holders to proceed in a class action suit against the company as a result of how the insurer handled roof claims following a 2006 hail storm in central Indiana.

On Feb. 6, Southern District Judge William T. Lawrence granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification in part in the suit, Cynthia Kartman, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 1:07-cv-474. Judge Lawrence found the plaintiffs met all of the prerequisites of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b)(2) to allow a class of individuals to pursue the injunctive relief requested. The judge rejected the plaintiffs' original request that those with roof damage from the hail storm and had claims denied by State Farm should be allowed in the suit. Instead, Judge Lawrence defined 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.

The District Court ordered that a general notice be made available via publication and Web site to inform potential class members and that individualized notices go out to those who have current lawsuits pending or decide to file a lawsuit before the opt-out date.

The plaintiffs in this suit allege State Farm doesn't have a reasonable, objective standard in place for adjusting hail damage claims and many people were denied or not fully covered for roof damage from the storm. The plaintiffs want compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract, tortious bad faith breach of their insurance contracts, and unjust enrichment. They also seek injunctive relief in the form of an order that State Farm re-evaluate the roofs pursuant to a uniform and objective standard of everyone who made a timely claim.

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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