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Posted in Blog on September 19, 2018   |  by Gary Burger

State Farm to Pay $250 million Settlement for Karmeirer Campaign Donation Lawsuit

We fight State Farm all the time in cases.

Did you know that State Farm has agreed to a $250 million settlement for a federal lawsuit which accused the company of breaking federal racketeering laws by donating extra money to the election campaign of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier and failing to disclose the amount. The case is Hale v. State Farm.

Plaintiff’s were represented by the Clifford Law Offices. They were representing the class in a suit against State Farm, challenging the company’s authorization to use non-factory vehicle parts for vehicles involved in accidents - called Avery v. State Farm.

The 1999 $1 billion jury verdict against State Farm in the Avery case was reversed by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2005. Judge Karmeirer was the deciding vote on the case. Millions of dollars were funneled into Karmeier’s 2004 campaign by State Farm and other insurance companies before deciding the case.

When Karmeirer was challenged by Plaintiff’s, State Farm lied about the amount of contributions given. See my previous article about this case here.

The settlement provides benefits to over 4 million current and former State Farm policyholders who were members of the class in Avery v. State Farm.

In 2015, a federal judge in the Southern Illinois district approved class-action status for a lawsuit by policyholders who alleged that State Farm directed campaign contributions that made their way to the coffers of the committee to elect Karmeier to the Illinois Supreme Court. Judge Karmeier was not named in the suit.

You can read more about Hale v. State Farm here.

As we approach election season, this case highlights the importance of the Missouri Plan. The Missouri Plan provides that the governor selects judges, who are recommended by a non-partisan commission. These judges are retained by citizen vote.

This system ensures that our States judicial selection is not controlled by partisan campaign spending. In states such as Illinois where judges are elected, insurance companies have the opportunity to spend millions of dollars, buy judicial influence, and potentially change the outcome of important cases.

A number of states have adopted the Missouri plan, and we should be proud of our State and our judicial system. We must also fight to preserve this plan and keep politics out of our judiciary. Learn more about the Missouri Plan here.