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Attendant Care, Work Loss Benefits Are Sought (continued)

Carrier is sanctioned for discovery abuse for its adjusting practices


Plaintiffs — an 18 year old student — sought attendant care and work loss benefits from defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Plaintiff sustained catastrophic injuries in an Aug. 16, 2009, automobile accident including a traumatic brain injury and numerous orthopedic injuries. Her injuries resulted in related physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional residual deficits, and she required attendant care, which was provided by her family.

Plaintiff filed suit Aug. 6, 2010, against State Farm, asserting that the carrier refused to properly pay nofault personal injury protection benefits including attendant care, work loss, and other medical expenses.

When the carrier’s adjusting practices were learned during discovery, including directing private investigators to follow her into church with her family and defense medical with doctors that did not actually treat patients, plaintiff on Feb. 21, 2012, filed an amended Bad Faith complaint that included counts relating to those adjusting practices.

Plaintiff obtained court-ordered discovery sanctions against State Farm for discovery abuses, and partial summary judgment related to work loss benefits, some attendant care benefits and no-fault penalty interest on the overdue amounts (monetary amounts were pending at the time of settlement). State Farm has as many as three law firms representing its interests during the pendency of the case including two from Michigan and one from Illinois.

The parties settled Garber’s attendant care claims for the benefits that were outstanding, and State Farm agreed to pay a guaranteed daily rate of $672 for attendant care benefits for a period of at least seven years into the future.

The total value of the attendant care issues includes the amount paid by the insurance company for the previous years’ deficiency in attendant care payments and the value of the claim during the pendency of the agreement.

The $2,579,320 settlement also includes payment for work loss benefits and no-fault penalty interest obtained following summary judgment on the issues.

Type of action: Automobile no-fault
Type of injuries: Traumatic brain injury
Court/Case no.: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; 10-CV-13301
Name of judge: Arthur Tarnow
Settlement amount: $2,579,320
Insurance carrier: State Farm