Progressive Direct Insurance removed a class action to federal court that alleges the automobile insurance company sold insurance that it would not pay claims on.
The defendant filed a notice of removal to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Sept. 28 through attorneys Emily Kiser of Lathrop & Gage in Clayton, Mo., and Brian Fries and Mara Cohara of Kansas City.
The defendant argues that removal is proper based on the Class Action Fairness Act, which extends federal jurisdiction over class actions.
According to the notice of removal, the proposed class consists of more than 100 members, diversity of citizenship exists and the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, making removal appropriate.
Suzanne and Michael Hallihan filed the lawsuit on July 30 against Progressive Direct Insurance Co. of Ohio.
They claim the company sold policies to customers for minimum underinsured motorist coverage that is “illusory,” is rendered void by the language of the policy and had no intention of using as a basis for paying a claim.
The plaintiffs accuse the defendant of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, fraudulent misrepresentation or omission and unjust enrichment.
Suzanne Hallihan alleges she submitted a claim on July 25, 2014, in relation to a loss on Nov. 14, 2011. While the minimum payout at the time of the accident in 2011 was $20,000 per person, the suit states that Progressive denied the claim on July 29, 2014, arguing that the bodily injury coverage exceeded the underinsured motorist coverage and that the vehicle did not meet the definition of an underinsured motor vehicle.
The plaintiffs seek statutory and common-law damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs. They also seek an order prohibiting the defendant from offering the coverage in its current form.
The plaintiffs are represented by James J. Rosemergy of Carey, Danis & Lowe of St. Louis and Zane T. Cagle and Andrew G. Mundwiller of The Cagle Law Firm in St. Louis.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-434