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Insurance Class Action Defense

Steptoe’s insurance litigation practice has extensive experience defending class actions in jurisdictions across the country, including complex national and statewide classes, and individual “opt-out” cases. 

We combine deep class action procedural knowledge with a thorough understanding of the insurance industry, including coverage types, claims adjustment procedures, and related financial laws and regulations.  We have successfully defeated class claims prior to discovery and substantially limited class discovery prior to dispositive motions.  Where settlement is a favorable alternative to litigation, we creatively resolve cases as inexpensively and efficiently as possible.

Our lawyers have successfully battled class allegations in Circuit Courts of Appeal, federal district courts, and state trial, appellate, and supreme courts.  Of particular note, we recently defended Allstate Insurance Company in eight certified or putative class actions in Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, and the District of Columbia.

Representative Matters

  • Defended insurance client and group of affiliated insurance companies in putative nationwide class action asserting bad faith and other causes of action arising out of client’s use of Colossus, a claim software system.
  • Represented global insurer in advertising liability coverage consumer class action cases.
  • Secured summary judgment for client in a coverage action seeking defense and indemnity for liability associated with two class action antitrust suits under the “personal and advertising injury” of CGL policies.  In an issue of first impression, the court ruled that there was no “offense” within the meaning of the policy, the criminal acts exclusion barred coverage, and the requisite “advertisement injury” did not exist.
  • Prevailed in a motion to decertify a class against an insured for a major insurance carrier in a case brought by individuals who owned or occupied property within a 1.25-mile radius of an industrial hog farm, who allegedly suffered damages from odors associated with the farm’s operation in western Kentucky.  Previously, the district court had certified the class, and that certification order had survived an appeal to the 6th Circuit.  However, Steptoe successfully argued for summary judgment and developed evidence to convince the court to decertify the class.  The case settled.
  • Represented personal lines carrier in a putative statewide (Illinois) class action filed in Madison County, Illinois, by an insured that attacked the company’s claim-settlement practices for “minor impact soft tissue” injuries.  Steptoe obtained a dismissal order, persuading the Madison County trial court to dismiss the case because the putative class representative lacked any legally recognized injury and could not show that the insurer breached its contract with the plaintiff.
  • Defended client and related entities in putative nationwide class action regarding the “v550” policy endorsement for automobile liability policies.