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State Farm must pay contractor $14.5M for defamation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a $14.5 million award of damages against State Farm Insurance after finding the insurer couldn’t prove its three arguments on appeal to reverse. The award is one of the largest defamation awards in U.S. history, according to the court.

Joseph Radcliff and his company Coastal Property Management LLC filed a counterclaim, alleging defamation against the insurer after State Farm sued Radcliff and his company for racketeering and insurance fraud. The suits were initiated after State Farm received bad press for denying homeowners’ claims for hail damage following a spring storm in central Indiana in 2006. Radcliff helped homeowners fight State Farm for coverage.

A jury awarded him the $14.5 million after a six-week trial in Hamilton County in 2011.

In State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Joseph Martin Radcliff and Coastal Property Management LLC, a/k/a CPM Construction of Indiana, 29A04-1111-CT-571, State Farm claimed that its communications with the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department – which investigated claims made by State Farm against Radcliff that he created damage on customers’ roofs – were protected by statutory immunity and a common-law privilege for crime reporting; that Radcliff failed to prove actual malice by clear and convincing evidence; and that the damages award was excessive.
 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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