Property Casualty 360 reported that a federal appeals court denied State Farm’s petition to block a class action involving policyholders who alleged that State Farm breached its contract with them when it required the use of aftermarket parts in the repair of their vehicles.
The class action was originally filed in 1997 (Michael Avery, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company), and State Farm eventually lost and was ordered to pay $1 billion. However, in 2005, the judgment was overturned by Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, whose actions, the plaintiffs allege, were influenced by State Farm’s donation to his reelection campaign.
According to the article in Property Casualty 360, the appellate judges on Dec. 8th also ordered to be released several documents that had been under seal, including an expert’s 145-page report that tracks a multimillion-dollar money trail at the heart of the racketeering charge. The trail traces the dark money from the company through various groups and then allegedly into the campaign of Karmeier.
In denying to hear State Farm’s appeal of class action certification, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit returned the case to U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill., to proceed with trial.
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