Liberty Mutual Escapes Class Action Over Totaled Cars, Decision Could Impact Other Cases – Top Class Actions

Liberty Mutual and CCC Intelligent Solutions have dodged a class action lawsuit over condition adjustments for totaled cars thanks to a decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that could affect other similar cases brought by car insurance customers.
In a decision made Feb. 11 in the 9th Circuit, the court said owners of totaled vehicles can’t bring a class action against Liberty Mutual or its valuation contractor for using a “condition adjustment” to reduce the amount it offers to pay on a claim, Reuters reports.
As a class action the case would be “unmanageable” because each individual plaintiff would have to show they received less than their vehicle was worth, the court said.
The decision could impact at least three other similar cases against insurers that are currently underway in the same district.
CCC’s lawyers said the decision was “particularly impactful in light of numerous putative class actions – all involving similar claims against CCC and its insurer customers – that are still pending.”
The 9th Circuit put three other actions against CCC, Allstate, Geico and USAA on hold last summer, waiting to make a decision in the Liberty Mutual case. 
In Friday’s decision, the 9th Circuit said the lower court’s denial of class action status to the lawsuit for breach of contract and unfair trade practices was correct as it was hard to prove harm.
“If there was no injury, then there was no breach of contract or unfair trade practice,” and “figuring out whether each plaintiff was injured would be an individualized process,” Circuit Judge Ryan Nelson wrote for the 9th Circuit.
The plaintiffs had argued that Liberty Mutual shouldn’t be able to reduce their payouts on totaled cars with unitemized condition adjustments and that those adjustments violated Washington state insurance regulations.
“But that’s an argument for the Washington insurance commissioner,” the court wrote.
In 2020, Liberty Mutual was hit with a class action lawsuit in Ohio by a woman who claimed that the insurance company failed to pay the sales tax, title transfer fees and registration fees she was entitled when her car was a total loss, as per her policy. 
The plaintiff is represented by Steve Berman, Robert Carey and John DeStefano III of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.
The Liberty Mutual Adjustments Class Action Lawsuit is Lara et al. v. First National Insurance Co et al., 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-35126.
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Liberty Mutual and CCC Intelligent Solutions have dodged a class action lawsuit over condition adjustments for totaled cars thanks to a decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that could affect other similar cases brought by car insurance customers…. Read More
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