No class action against State Farm

first_imgIn a class action, a court authorizes a single person or a small group of people to represent the interests of a larger group. Guice’s attorneys have argued that the facts in each “slab case” against State Farm are essentially the same and should be heard together. But State Farm says the cases must be tried separately because the facts of each claim are different. “We’re pleased with Judge Senter’s affirmation that each claim is unique and no two property owners experience the same type of loss,” State Farm spokesman Phil Supple said. A disappointed Guice said certifying a class action may be the only way to provide legal relief to homeowners who are “too weak to forge ahead alone.” A federal judge on Thursday refused to allow a class action against State Farm Insurance Cos. over the insurer’s denial of claims on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. State Farm policyholder Judy Guice had asked U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. to permit her to join other policyholders whose homes were reduced to slabs by the August 2005 storm in a class action against the Bloomington, Ill.-based insurer. But the judge, who heard testimony on the proposal during a Feb. 28 hearing in Gulfport, Miss., ruled Thursday that a class action for “slab cases” is “inconsistent with the requirements of due process.” “While each of the many `slab cases’ has in common the fact that the insured property was totally destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, the many other factual differences between the cases preclude the relief that Guice is seeking,” Senter wrote in his three-page ruling. last_img

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