Across many websites, State Farm is not highly regarded. In fact, it seems they have a history of customers and employees who’ve had run-ins with their policies and practices. The company opened its doors in 1922 and has become one of the largest insurance brokers in the United States. However, they have also had 58 citations for poor practices and paid out over half a million dollars because of insurance violations and failure to protect their customers. These are the 10 Best State Farm lawsuits in company history.
10. Dr. Carla Campbell-Jackson – $500,000 Dollars
In January 2022, attorneys Ben Crump, Steven Hart, and Robert McLaughlin, a group of Chicago attornies, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jackson. In it, they cited civil rights violations per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Jackson worked for State Farm for 28 years before being terminated after she reported discriminatory practices where she worked. However, State Farm denies that the move to fire her was racially charged. Instead, they stated that the former employee shared confidential information. However, according to Pantagraph, Jackson had over 100,000 pieces of information detailing the company’s racial discrimination. Some of these included pictures of a noose that was given to her and a letter from one of the employees with a slew of racial epitaphs. Jackson first noticed the office where she worked denying black and brown people claims as much as possible, and things escalated from there. After reporting her suspicions and other racial discrimination, her reviews started to dwindle. When she was terminated, the company offered her $175,000 with the caveat she needed to stay quiet about the things that happened.
9. Eulene Timmons – $2.35 Million Dollars
Her husband was hit head-on after a driver crossed over the line and hit her husband, causing a broken neck, cracked ribs, and other injuries. Just over two months later, he died from these injuries. Timmons had an insurance policy with State Farm with a payment threshold of $25,000. When her lawyers contacted the company for the payment, they received a run-around and requests for additional paperwork. Because of this, per Georgia law, Timmons was able to file a bad-faith lawsuit against State Farm. The amount they sought in the lawsuit was $2.35 million, a quarter of a million which was the medical bills and the rest for pain and suffering. In October 2017, the Timmons’ lawyers presented her with the check that didn’t bring her husband back but helped recoup some of the funds lost during the extended hospital stay he had. Additionally, Mrs. Timmons isn’t planning on doing anything outrageous with the payout; she’s just going to buy a new trailer to fix the dilipidated one she lived in previously. And to think, this story began when she was searching for a power of attorney for her dying husband. The rest of the story flowed, and they took the case on and won.
8. Norman and Genevieve Broussard – $2.5 Million Dollars
After receiving their settlement, Norman Broussard said, “it’s a great day for Mississippi.” The couple’s claim started when State Farm refused to pay their claim because the company couldn’t determine whose responsibility the wind and water damage on the house was. The damage happened to the couple’s home when hurricane Katrina ravaged it. After the initial amount of the claim, $223,992, the court added an additional $2.5 million dollars in punitive damages. One of the determining factors in the case was that the evidence presented made it unclear when the damage was sustained, and the wind speeds.
7. Shannon Doherty-$6 Million Dollars
The Beverly Hills 90210 actress sued State Farm when they didn’t follow through with a payout for a burned home in 2021. A federal jury in Los Angeles agreed that the actress was due monies after the 2018 California Wildfires citing it “unreasonable and without proper cause.” In addition to the amount Doherty was due, she added lawyer costs as well as emotional distress. However, there was another reason though she felt she was expected, a sympathy plea since the actress has breast cancer. They felt she thought she was entitled and that it had nothing to do with a denied payout. State Farm’s lawyers callously said that the actress was dying and that she should use her remaining time peacefully and not suing the company. They said they empathize but “respectfully disagree” with the outcome in a statement. After the ruling, they pursued appeals trying to overturn the court’s decision. Doherty tried to counterbalance the fallout going on Good Morning America because she didn’t want the words in the court document to be twisted.
6. Joseph Radcliff-$14.5 Million Dollars
His case started in 2006 when central Indiana was ravaged by an intense hailstorm that did severe damage to roofs in the area and started a maelstrom with State Farm over payouts. Since things were going so poorly for the people who were being denied their claims, Radcliff started a roofing company of his own. However, State Farm retaliated and filed multiple charges against him, which led to fourteen separate counts, including racketeering and insurance fraud. At one point, Radcliff was even arrested at gunpoint because of how far the charges went. During the trial, over 40 witnesses spoke. By the end of the problem, it was unanimous that State Farm’s and their attorneys falsified information.
5. Curtis Campbell-$25 Million Dollars
In 2013, Campbell had a car accident where he was responsible for the death of Todd Ospital and disabled Robert Slusher. The victim and family of Ospital contacted State Farm for damages paid within Campbell’s policy they were denied. According to Michigan Auto Law, when State Farm did this, they hid evidence showing Campbell’s responsibility and even altered facts. Worse, they paid for his defense lawyer, who worked diligently to secure his assets so they wouldn’t be seized and denied any accountability for the accident. Thankfully, the jury found him entirely at fault and gave Ospital’s family and Slusher over $150,000 in damages. After this happened, the State Farm lawyer suggested they start trying to sell assets. Instead, Campbell and his wife hired another lawyer and sued State Farm. He felt the company fraudulently hid evidence to meet its financial goals. The verdict awarded Campbell $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $145 million in punitive damages. Many feel that because Campbell wasn’t a Michigan resident and the trial was held in Utah. He received treatment that wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded. If this case wasn’t dramatic enough, State Farm filed its own lawsuit. In the end, Statefarm walked away with almost $10 million, nine times more than the damages received by the plaintiffs.
4. Vogt Versus State Farm-$34 Million Dollars
Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP and Miller Scirger LLC have handled numerous insurance cases, each one going after large corporations that are overcharging their clients. In this case, they were part of a class-action lawsuit that had approximately 24,000 defendants from Missouri who had universal life insurance policies. These types of policies accrue interest over the years, which State Farm was supposed to deduct to cover the costs. However, evidence came to light that the customers were overcharged for over two decades. There are certain factors that determine the COI rates each year, including age and sex. However, what was discovered was more speculative classifications, including profit assumptions and investments earnings.
3. Hale Versus State Farm-$250 Million Dollars
This case was an offshoot of Avery versus State Farm. Since there was so much controversy in the case, especially with Judge Lloyd Karmeier, who allegedly State Farm paid off. So, this case started for those who won the first two settlements but lost in the Illinois Supreme court. The plaintiffs, in this case, felt that Judge Karmier should have stepped down, and since he didn’t, it affected the ultimate verdict. The overall amount sought was $7.6 billion for the entire group. Of course, State Farm vehemently opposed the amount. They filed their own suit, Rooker-Feldman. According to Repair Driver News, on February 6, 2018, cited a law doctrine that prevents this type of behavior. Additionally, it was recognized that the defendants weren’t trying to seek additional funds, not due to them. Instead, they felt wronged by the judge who sat on the court for the decision. However, the case never took off because they didn’t have the evidence needed, and most of the things said about the judge were allegations. State Farm adamantly denied the claims that they paid campaign funds and worked to get him into office throughout the case.
2. Geeslin Versus State Farm-$350 Million Dollars
Over the course of a decade, Texas residences were overcharged on their insurance. However, one commissioner, Mike Geeslin, decided to take matters into his own hands and take State Farm to court. According to The Texas Chronicle, over a million customers were overcharged. District Judge Tim Sulak agreed with this estimation and ruled in favor of the plaintiffs after several hours of statements. One of the things that makes this case so insidious is that State Farm had several warnings when it came to light they were raising their premiums fraudulently. After the ruling, the company had two options pay the back balance in full or make sure there was a credit on upcoming renewals.
1. Avery Versus State Farm -$600 Million Dollars
This was a class-action lawsuit that started in 1997. Patrick Murphy filed a suit that State Farm used aftermarket parts and wasn’t transparent with their clients about which ones they were using. Furthermore, he alleged that they weren’t replacing the original features with ones of comparable value. Judge John Speroni signed off on the class action, but Murphy left the case when then-President Clinton appointed him to the U.S. district court a year later. However, the case continued, and after another year, the participants in the class action suit were awarded a collective sum of $1.056 billion, according to Madison Record. Not surprisingly, State Farm appealed the decision. They tried to discredit the jurors as well as the allegations. Even worse, several of the judges were discredited because of suspect campaign contributions. However, in 1999, the verdict favored the plaintiffs, and they received $600 million, just over half the initial amount. The trial dragged on for another decade with allegations against judges and plaintiffs that were meant to sway the jurors’ options. The amount of money decreased at the end, and State Farm settled at $250 million.
Throughout these cases, one thing remains a common thread; everyone should have their day in court and deserve to have their stories heard. Another thing you may have noticed is in all these cases; there is a David versus Goliath Theme. Companies like State Farm can seem large and imposing, and it may be easier to let a few things slide. However, when you see something erroneous, it’s never a good idea to sit by and let it happen. Instead, take action and let your voice be heard. Noam Chomsky once said, “it’s ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations.” Although he talked about a different type of corporation, the message is clear. We all rely on large corporations in our day-to-day life and sometimes feel like there’s no escaping our need for them. However, it’s best to take a page from these cases and stand up and face them with your truth when one does something.