Breach of contract suit against State Farm over 'plantation mentality' claims in court

Amelia Flood May 5, 2011, 9:36am


Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis is set to hear motions May 12 in a breach of contract case filed by a couple that claims State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and other defendants discriminated against them and displayed a "plantation mentality."

Plaintiffs Kenneth and Bea Stanley are suing State Farm, McCann Construction Company, and Lisa Darr for damages in excess of $400,000, attorney's fees and other relief.

The case was previously dismissed and later removed to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois before it returned to Madison County.

Callis is set to hear the motions at 9 a.m. May 12.

According to the couple's complaint, they had a policy with State Farm prior to April 24, 2008 to insure a property in Madison.

Darr worked for State Farm.

On April 24, 2008, the couple contends that the property insured under the policy suffered fire and water damage. The property was destroyed.

The plaintiffs claim they filed a prompt claim under their State Farm policy and followed proper procedures.

The Stanleys contend that State Farm refused to pay their claim.

They claim Darr's attitude toward them was racist. According to the couple's complaint,
Darr is Caucasian and they are African American.

"Defendant State Farm exhibited plantation mentality, bias against, racial animus toward, and prejudice against, the Plaintiffs both generally and in particular by Defendant Lisa Darr who made disapproving comments toward Plaintiffs as African-Americans and indicated Plaintiffs could not have owned the amount of property they claimed to have lost due to their race," the complaint states.

The couple claims McCann did not repair their home, although State Farm paid them in full to do so.

Callis initially granted the motion to dismiss in October 2010.

The plaintiffs then amended their complaint.

State Farm removed the case to federal court in December 2010.

The case was remanded to Madison Dec. 29, 2010.

State Farm filed to dismiss the Stanley's latest complaint Jan. 24.

The defendants claim that the Stanleys do not allege the specific facts needed to support their claims.

They argue the counts of the suit are "replete with bald assertions, legal conclusions, and platitudes, devoid of specific allegations."

The Stanleys filed their response to the motion to dismiss Feb. 25.

They argue they have alleged the needed facts to support the claims in their suit and that they have multiple facts to support them.

Randall Steele represents the Stanleys.

Martin Morrissey represents State Farm.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-633.

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