December 20, 2018

Much is pleased to announce that Judge David Herndon of the District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has granted final approval to a $250 million settlement in Hale v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. Alongside co-counsel Robert Clifford of Clifford Law Offices PC, Much Principal Steven P. Blonder represented the plaintiffs: Mark Hale, Todd Shadle and Laurie Loger.

The agreement, which was reached on September 4, 2018 after a jury had been selected and before opening statements were to begin, settles a class action lawsuit filed in 2012 alleging that State Farm violated federal law through its involvement in Lloyd Karmeier’s Illinois Supreme Court election campaign at a time when State Farm had a case, Avery v. State Farm, pending in that court. The Avery case, decided in 1999, resulted in a $1 billion jury verdict against State Farm that was reversed in 2005 by the Illinois Supreme Court, with Justice Karmeier’s participation. In Hale, the plaintiffs maintained that the defendants secretly recruited, funded and organized the campaign for a judge to run for an open seat on the Illinois Supreme Court and fed millions of dollars into his 2004 campaign in hopes that he would overturn the $1 billion judgment.

“This settlement is a testament to our firm’s ability to pursue the most complex litigation out there,” said Blonder.Hale v. State Farm raised issues of internal corruption, abuse of power and influence, and dark money in elections. Much and our team of litigators fought for a level playing field for the plaintiffs and to ensure judicial integrity.”

The settlement provides benefits to approximately 4.7 million current and former State Farm policyholders who were members of the class in Avery.

In addition to Blonder, the Much litigation team included Principals David T. Brown and Jonathan Loew.

“While we’re pleased with the terms of the settlement and what it means for the people affected, there’s more to this victory than the dollar amount. For Much, it validates our commitment to take on difficult, complex issues on behalf of our clients,” said Brown. “Steve and I are proud to be a part of the team that secured this result.”

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.