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Judge Grants Final Approval of Settlement of Insurance Stacking Class Action Case

gavel on tableLast week, a federal judge gave final approval to the $3.25 million settlement of Stockdale v. Allstate, which is a case about uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policyholders being wrongly denied the option of stacking coverage.

The settlement was approved by Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Wendy Beetlestone – she OK’d an award of $750,000 to class counsel and $7,500 for the class action plaintiff Kayla Stockdale.

The ruling called the terms of the settlement “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

This case is one of a few class actions claiming insurance companies were using household exclusions in their insurance policies to prevent stacking of UM/UIM coverage since 1990. Stockdale cites that Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision Gallagher v. Geico, a decision that said household vehicle exclusions are invalid. A federal judge later ruled that the decision in Gallagher v. Geico is retroactive, opening the door to class actions like Stockdale.

Schmidt Kramer partner Scott Cooper was one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, and he said the settlement of Stockdale v. Allstate creates a roadmap for two other class actions they are pursuing against different insurance companies.

“People got what they paid for finally,” Cooper said.

There were 48 members in the class and the judge said an adjuster was needed to evaluate all the claims and determine how much compensation to award to plaintiffs. According to Cooper, the evaluation of these claims had already been done and more than three quarters of the class members who had been identified agreed to participate.