[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 83°F  
River stage: 33.15 ft. Rising
Thursday, July 10, 2014

Court hits State Farm with $145 million judgment

Sunday, October 21, 2001

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Supreme Court reinstated a $145 million jury award against State Farm for underpaying insurance claims, cheating customers and destroying crucial documents. A lower court found State Farm had even investigated the sex life of a company whistleblower.

The case involved State Farm's refusal to pay $50,000 to settle a claim involving a 1981 Utah car accident that killed one driver and left another driver disabled.

The insurer wouldn't settle even though one of its investigators determined a State Farm policyholder, Curtis Campbell, was at fault for the accident.

Campbell, 83, was found at fault by a trial jury and held liable for $130,000 more than his $50,000 policy limit. State Farm eventually paid all the damages, including Campbell's personal liability, but Campbell still sued, alleging its refusal to settle was part of a companywide scheme to limit payments on claims.

A Utah jury awarded Campbell and his wife $145 million in punitive and $2.6 million in compensatory damages.

Those amounts were later reduced on an appeal to $25 million in punitive damages and $1 million in compensation.

Friday's 4-1 decision by the Utah Supreme Court reinstated the punitive award to $145 million and kept the compensation at $1 million.

Paul Belnap, State Farm's Utah lawyer, said the company was considering its options and could appeal. The company denies any improper dealings.


Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?


Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration. If you already have an account on seMissourian.com or semoball.com, enter your username and password below. Otherwise, click here to register.

Username:

Password:  (Forgot your password?)

Your comments:
Please be respectful of others and try to stay on topic.