Susan Snowden to Speak at Auto Insurance Litigation
Martin & Seibert, L.C. Shareholder Susan R. Snowden is scheduled
to speak at a conference on Auto Insurance Litigation in January
2006, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The conference, sponsored by the American Conference Institute,
is designed to provide practical strategies for minimizing exposure
and resolving coverage disputes.
For more information, go to www.americanconference.com/autoinsurance.
|Susan Snowden Selected as 2005 Woman of Distinction
Martin & Seibert, L.C. Shareholder Susan R. Snowden has been
selected by the Girl Scouts of the Shawnee Council as a 2005 Woman
Susan was chosen along with six others from the Eastern Panhandle
of West Virginia for the honor. The selection was based on demonstrated
leadership qualities and because those honored had distinguished
themselves as role models for girls and women in the community.
$1 Billion Verdict Against State Farm Overturned
On August 18, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a $1 billion
judgment against State Farm stemming from a national class action
over the use of non-Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts.
In rendering its decision, the court held that the trial court erred
in giving the suit class action status.
The class consisted of State Farm policyholders who contested the
insurer's practice of using non-OEM parts to repair policyholders'
vehicles in every case where such parts were available. Plaintiffs
alleged this was a breach of contract because State Farm failed
to restore their vehicle to pre-loss condition claiming non OEM
parts were categorically inferior. The class also argued the practice
violated Illinois consumer law. The trial court concluded that Illinois
law could be applied to all class members nationwide and certified
a national class of approximately 4.7 million claimants.
A jury found State Farm had breached its contractual obligations
and the trial court entered judgment for $1,186,180,000.00. An intermediate
appellate court reduced the verdict by $130 million. On appeal,
State Farm argued that individual questions predominated over any
purported common questions thus precluding class status. The Illinois
Supreme Court agreed in Avery v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., (No.
91494, Ill, filed August 18 ,2005). The Avery Court held that the
trial court erred in concluding that the operative language in State
Farm's various policies could be given a uniform interpretation
and found there was no evidentiary support for the conclusion that
all State Farm policies are uniform.
The Supreme Court also concluded that the trial court also erred
in granting national class action status when there existed only
one named plaintiff from Illinois, and he was not able to prove
that he suffered any damages as a result of the State Farm's actions.
Susan Snowden to Serve on Board of Trustees of
Martin & Seibert, L.C. Shareholder Susan Snowden has been appointed
to serve on the Board of Trustees of Thiel College in Greenville,
Thiel College is an independent institution related to the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America. It was founded as Thiel Hall in Monaca,
Pennsylvania, in 1866 and chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
in 1870. In 1871 the College moved to Greenville.
Susan's term begins in Fall 2005 and continues for three years.
Vito Mussomeli Appointed to West Virginia State
Martin & Seibert, L.C. Real Estate attorney Vito
Mussomeli was recently appointed to serve on the West Virginia
State Bar's Real Estate, Zoning, and Land Use Committee.
The West Virginia State Bar is the organization of all lawyers
licensed to practice law in West Virginia. Its stated mission is
to improve the administration of justice and enhance the provision
of legal services for West Virginians.
Allison Marquina Elected to Term on United Way
Martin & Seibert, L.C. Litigation attorney Allison
Marquina was recently elected to serve on the board of directors
of the United Way of Berkeley and Morgan Counties.
United Way of Berkeley and Morgan Counties is a voluntary, not
for profit organization made up of donors, volunteers and recipient
health and human service agencies. These agencies help individuals
in need, families in crisis, provide youth and senior programs and
enhance the community quality of life.
Martin & Seibert, L.C. Honored with Outstanding
The Martinsburg, West Virginia Chapter of Rotary International
recently honored Martin & Seibert, L.C. with its Outstanding Business
The award was in recognition of the Firm’s role as Presenting Sponsor
of a Rotary 100th Anniversary Gala that the club held in April.
The goal of the event was to raise $100,000 for the Martinsburg-Berkeley
County Parks and Recreation Board. In addition to being the top
sponsor, Martin & Seibert, L.C. also helped with promotional printing
and other logistical functions.
The world’s first service club, Rotary was formed in Chicago, Illinois,
in 1905 by an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional
club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of
his youth. The name “Rotary” derived from the early practice of
rotating meetings among members’ offices.
Today, Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional
leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical
standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in
the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than
31,000 Rotary clubs located in 167 countries.
UPDATE ON THE
ON THE LAW - Get the latest information on cases affecting
the insurance industry in West Virginia.
Topics include Bad Faith, Rates,
Regulations, and more.
Written by Martin & Seibert
Attorney Kay Fuller, Update on
the Law is published quarterly.
AND CASES - This periodical presents the analysis of news
coming out of West Virginia State Government, with special emphasis
on employment law issues, workers' compensation, and insurance news.
Bills and Cases is a monthly pulication
written by Susan Snowden and