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The "Farmers Insurance News-Alert" website is dedicated to providing the consumer and general public with detailed information concerning the Farmers Insurance Group. This includes fraud reports, consumer complaints, lawsuit's and other legal actions taken against this company. All information contained herein is for educational purposes only. Original sources, when known are sited.

 

Saturday, April 15, 1995
Home Edition
Section: Business
Page: C-12

Ex-Agents Lose Ruling in Suit Against Farmers; Insurance: Judge says litigation fails to meet class-action criteria.;

By: THOMAS S. MULLIGAN
TIMES STAFF WRITER


A Superior Court judge denied class-action status to a lawsuit filed by former agents of Farmers Insurance Group alleging that the big insurer coerced them into discriminating against Southeast Asians on the
grounds that they were poor drivers.

Commissioner Bruce E. Mitchell of Los Angeles Superior Court, acting as a judge pro tempore, based his denial on the plaintiffs' failure to demonstrate that their grievances against Farmers were common to all
potential class members. He noted that some agents opposed the 1993 lawsuit.

A separate discrimination lawsuit--also seeking class-action status--has been filed by Southeast Asian policyholders. Its status could not be determined Friday.

Farmers hailed Friday's decision on the agents' lawsuit, saying in a statement: "We will beat these frivolous lawsuits because Farmers has and enforces a strong policy condemning any manner of discrimination based on race or national origin."

However, Mitchell's decision does not mean the agents' case is dead. Their attorney, Abraham Goldman, said the ruling will be appealed. In any case, he added, Mitchell did not rule on the merits of the allegations.

The former agents said Farmers pushed them to "get rid" of Southeast Asian auto policyholders--particularly Hmongs--by charging them higher rates or otherwise discouraging their business.

 

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