STATE FARM CONSUMER CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
Sacramento, Ca. - Hon. James P. Kleinberg, Chief Judge of the Complex Division of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, has granted Plaintiffs' motion to certify a class of all State Farm homeowners and commercial policyholders in California.
The lawsuit contends that State Farm routinely and as a matter of policy undervalues personal property items covered through homeowners or business property policies after a loss due to fire, theft, or other damage.
Attorney Brooks Cutter of the Sacramento consumer class action firm, Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, LLP, recently named Co-Lead Class Counsel along with Robert Buccola of Dreyer, Babich, Buccola, Wood & Campora, LLP in the class action suit, views the decision as an important step towards justice for the class members. "Clearly, we're very happy about the opportunity to present the facts of this case, which we believe are extremely strong. The judge granted Plaintiffs' motion for class action in its entirety, rejected all of State Farm's arguments against Plaintiffs' claims, and denied each of State Farm's motions to strike expert pre-trial testimony."
Plaintiffs contend that State Farm systematically fails to account for actual physical condition of a covered item when determining monetary value after a loss, over- depreciating and undervaluing policyholder's personal property. As a result, Plaintiffs contend, tens of thousands of policyholders have been short changed.
Further, Plaintiffs contend that State Farm's adjusters and claims process failed to inform policyholders of their right to have physical condition taken into consideration.
Plaintiffs argue that by using an antiquated "Depreciation Guide" and corresponding claim software system for adjusting claims, State Farm violated California Insurance Code, 2051 - subdivision (b), which allows for "fair and reasonable" deductions for physical depreciation based on the property's actual "condition" at the time of loss.
Attorney J.R. Parker, also of Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff and involved with the case, was pleased with the decision. "The Court issued a careful, detailed, and thoughtful order on class certification. Now we can proceed to hold State Farm accountable on behalf of all its policyholders in California."