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Avery v. State Farm repercussions in Madison County

In the wake of Avery, GEICO is asking a Madison County judge to decertify a fifty-state class action against it over its use of CCC Information Services valuations for totaled vehicles, and the decision should be straightforward. The suit was an all-too-typical "consumer fraud" class action brought entirely at the behest of attorneys alleging that a normal business practice is really "fraud" and hoping to extort a settlement out of a defendant by leveraging it through improper class certification. (The plaintiffs' attorneys have yet to identify how GEICO was supposed to have non-fraudulently valued wrecked automobiles—other benchmarks value some cars both higher and lower than GEICO did.) The GEICO suit added new named plaintiffs after a deposition where the original one wasn't quite cooperative with his attorneys:

In a deposition at the Lakin firm, [Myron Billups] griped about how his attorneys bothered him.

�I didn�t want to [sue] in the first place,� he said, �but it got so every night or every day somebody was calling, calling.�

A Geico attorney asked if he was in any other lawsuits. Billups said, �Geico�s going to go away, you know.� He emphasized: �The Geico thing will be dropped.�

When asked if he knew where his suit was pending, Billups said, �I think my attorney here would tell you.�

�I don�t even open the envelopes," he said. "I�m sorry to admit that but I�m just - I�m at a point in my life where, you know, I don�t want to be bothered.�

Billups allegedly rejoined the cause. (Steve Korris, "Years before Avery decision, Geico urges Byron to hold off", Madison County Record, Nov. 24). Plaintiffs' attorneys include the Lakin law firm and Thomas Maag (Dec. 28; OL Oct. 29).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.