A petition was filed Sept. 8 by the attorneys for the
plaintiffs in the 1997 Michael Avery, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company case, asking the Illinois Supreme
Court to reconsider their case because the defendants allegedly committed an
"intrinsic fraud" against the court.
The plaintiffs, who claimed to represent 4.5 million State Farm customers, allege that State Farm covered up its
support of Justice Lloyd Karmeier in his 2004 reelection campaign against former 5th District Appellate Justice Gordon Maag. Nine months after
Karmeier was elected, he sided with a 4-2 majority to void a $1 billion
judgment against State Farm for allegedly breaching its contract with
policyholders when it required the use of aftermarket parts in the repair of
Initially, a jury awarded $465 million to some State Farm
customers, while $730 million was awarded to other policyholders. The 5th
District Appellate Court upheld the decision on appeal in 2001, but then State
Farm appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. According to the petition, the
court delayed a decision during the 2004 election in which Karmeier sought a
seat. The plaintiffs asked Karmeier to recuse himself due to having received
$350,000 in campaign donations from State Farm, but he did not, the petition
said, and the court ruled in State Farm’s favor.
The petition filed Sept. 8 claims State Farm lied to the
court about its involvement with Karmeier’s campaign and claims that State Farm
fed $2.5 million to $4 million to the campaign through the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, the Illinois Republican Party, the Illinois Civil Justice League
(ICJL) and ICJL’s political action committee, JUST-PAC.
A private investigator and 28-year FBI special agent hired by the plaintiffs filed an affidavit with the plaintiffs’ petition stating that three individuals who were employed by Karmeier’s campaign came forward with information indicating deep involvement by State Farm in the campaign.