Class Action Lawsuit Can Be Brought Against State Farm
The lawsuit brought by a group of State Farm auto insurace customers was approved by a federal judge on September 16th. These plaintiffs allege that the company funded the campaign of an Illinois Supreme Court judge in return for the judge’s vote overturning a $1 billion settlement. The company also allegedly lied about the issue when previously questioned about it by consumers.
The judge in question, Lloyd Karmeier, ran for office in 2004. State Farm allegedly funded his campaign so that he could vote in their favor in their appeal of a $1 billion dollar settlement relating to State Farm’s use of generic auto parts when paying for the insured’s car repairs. These generic auto parts were successfully argued to be inferior to factory auto parts.
The Original Case
State Farm has been fighting these allegations for some time, and the approval of the class action lawsuit is the biggest blow so far to their efforts. The original case reached its $1 billion dollar verdict in 1999, it and its related cases have frequently been in the news for the last 17 years. It is one of the largest class action settlements in legal history.
The State Farm customers won a total judgment of $1.186 billion dollars for State Farm’s use of low-quality generic car parts in 1999, as previously mentioned. An appeal ruling reduced the amount of the settlement to $1.01 billion dollars.
Another appeal, in which Karmeier was involved, took place in 2005 and threw out the settlement entirely. This decisions was immediately contensious, and became even more so when State Farm was found to have backed Karmeier.
State Farm’s Response
A State Farm spokesperson said that the company plans to appeal the ruling allowing the class action suit. Their argument is that the plaintiffs have made these allegations for many years, and should not be allowed to do so any longer.
Justice Karmeier’s Response
Karmeier is not a co-defendant with State Farm. He is, unsurprisingly, the Illinois Chief Justice. While he is not in danger of paying a huge settlement, this suit could do great damage to his career if the allegations are found to be true. Karmeier did not return requests for comment.