Pendley selected as a finalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year Award

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, LLP is proud to announce that Senior partner, Patrick W. Pendley, Class Counsel in the Hale vs. State Farm case and all other Class Counsel have been selected as Finalist for Public Justice's 2019 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.

Each year this prestigious award is presented to the firm which made the greatest contribution to the public interest through a precedent-setting, socially significant case over the past year.

The Trial Lawyer of the Year will be awarded in July 2019 at the Public Justice's Annual Gala and Awards Dinner at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.

Pendley and other class counsel represented 4.7 million State Farm policyholders in an unprecedented racketeering and mail fraud case. The history of the litigation stretches back 21 years to 1997 when Pendley and his co-counsel filed a case entitled, Avery vs. State Farm, alleging State Farm's use of lower quality automotive parts from non-brand manufacturers to repair 4.7 million policyholder vehicles.

After a month-long trial in 1999, State Farm was hit with a $1.18 billion-dollar verdict. Subsequently, the Illinois Supreme Court reviewed the judgment with Justice Lloyd Karmeier voting to reverse the District Court verdict.

Based upon allegations that State Farm had funded Karmeier's campaign for a Supreme Court position, Avery Class Counsel filed a motion to have Karmeier recuse himself from the Avery case.

Karmeier refused to recuse himself.

Several years later in 2009, the United States Supreme Court held in Caperton vs. A.T. Massey Coal Company that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to the refusal of a Judge to recuse himself in a case involving a major contributor to his election campaign.

Based on that decision, Pendley and two of his Avery Class Counsel, Gordon Ball and Don Barrett, decided to further investigate State Farm's involvement in Karmeier's campaign.

Two retired FBI agents were hired to go to Illinois to determine how State Farm recruited and financed the Karmeier campaign. The agents found new evidence that State Farm had funded millions of dollars to the Karmeier campaign through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Republican party, among others.

Citing this evidence, the Avery vs. State Farm Class Counsel requested the Illinois Supreme Court to reopen the appeal of the District Court decision. The Supreme Court declined to do so.

In 2012, Pendley, Ball and Barrett filed a new case in federal court in the Southern District of Illinois entitled. Hale vs. State Farm, alleging that State Farm engaged in a RICO conspiracy in the recruitment and election of Justice Karmeier. After Pendley, Ball and Barrett succeeded in defeating State Farm's Motion to Dismiss the Hale vs. State Farm case, all of the original Avery vs. State Farm lawyers enrolled in the Hale vs. State Farm case.

After several years of litigation, a nation-wide class was certified in the Hale vs. State Farm case. Over the six years of litigation, Hale vs. State Farm Class Counsel successfully opposed multiple appeals to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as summary judgment motions by State Farm.

The Hale vs. State Farm trial was scheduled to commence on September 4, 2018 but was settled that day for $250 million.

The law firm representing the Hale vs. State Farm plaintiffs and the class members are Gordon Ball, Co-Lead Counsel, Clifford Law Firm, Co-Lead Counsel, Don Barrett, Class Counsel, Patrick W. Pendley, Class Counsel, Robert Nelson, Class Counsel, Steve Blonder, Class Counsel, Thomas Thrash, Class Counsel, and Hausfeld, LLP, Class Counsel.

Contributed by Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, L.L.P.