Ohio Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in State Farm Class Action

Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral argument in Cullen v. State Farm. We previously discussed this case here.

Here is a quick primer on the facts of the case. In March 2003, Mr. Cullen’s windshield was chipped by a stone — damage that was covered under his auto policy with State Farm. In exchange for State Farm waiving his deductible, Cullen agreed to have the crack repaired rather than to replace the entire windshield. Because the deductible was waived, the $50 repair was free.

In the subsequent class action lawsuit, Cullen claims he was misled. He says he was steered by State Farm’s third party representative to repair the crack and was never told that he could have gotten a “pay-out” for a replacement windshield. He seeks to represent at least 100,000 State Farm insureds in Ohio who filed glass-only windshield repair claims since 1991.

The trial court certified the proposed class and Ohio’s Eighth Appellate District affirmed. Central to the court’s theory of certification was its statement that “[c]lass certification does not go to the merits of the claim.” Cullen v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co. 8th Dist. No. 95925, 2011-Ohio-662, at ¶ 55. The Cullen court thus appeared to limit its analysis to the plaintiffs’ allegations and declined to consider merits issues.

For more, read the full story.

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