No class action on Liberty’s adjustment of totaled cars – 9th Circ

Smashed cars litter the scene of a previous multi-car and truck pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Bensalem Interchange in Pennsylvania. REUTERS/Tom Mihalek

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(Reuters) – Owners of totaled vehicles cannot bring a class action lawsuit against Liberty Mutual or its appraisal contractor for using a vague “condition adjustment” to reduce the amount it offers to pay on a claim, said a federal appeals court on Friday in a case with implications for other insurers facing similar lawsuits.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said a class action lawsuit against Liberty and CCC Intelligent Solutions would be “unmanageable” because each individual plaintiff would have to prove they received less than the value of their vehicle.

The decision upholds a victory in the lower court for Liberty, represented on appeal by Ted Boutrous Jr of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher et al., and CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc, which provides claims assessment services and software to the insurance industry. insurance, represented by the former American lawyer. General Gregory Garre and a team from Latham & Watkins.

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9th Circuit says Tacoma District Court judge correctly applied ‘old basketball phrase, ‘no harm, no foul” to deny class action status to breach of contract lawsuit and Unfair Business Practices, filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro on behalf of Leeana Lara and Cameron Lundquist.

“If there was no injury, there was no breach of contract or unfair trade practice,” and “determining whether each plaintiff was injured would be an individualized process,” the judge wrote. homer Ryan Nelson for the 9th homer.

Lara and Lundquist had argued that a class action lawsuit was appropriate because the undetailed condition adjustments violated Washington state insurance regulations.

“But it’s an argument for the Washington Insurance Commissioner,” Nelson wrote, joined by circuit judges Ronald Gould and Mark Bennett.

Hagens Berman’s John DeStefano, who argued the appeal for Lara and Lundquist, said Friday they were “evaluating options” but had no further comment.

Boutros referred requests for comment to Liberty Mutual, which declined to discuss the litigation.

In a joint statement, attorneys for CCC in Latham called the decision “particularly impactful in light of numerous putative class action lawsuits – all involving similar claims against CCC and its insurer clients – which are still ongoing.”

The 9th Circuit suspended three of those actions — against CCC, Allstate, Geico and USAA — last summer pending its decision in the Liberty Mutual case, the Latham team said.

The case is Lara et al. v. First National Insurance Co et al., 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-35126.

For Lara et al: Steve Berman, Robert Carey and John DeStefano III of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro

For First National et al. : Theodore Boutrous and Bradley Hamburger of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; James Morsch of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr; John Silk by Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson

For CCC: Gregory Garre, Marguerite Sullivan and Jason Burt of Latham & Watkins

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