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In Snider v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., litigator John W. ‘Don’ Barrett led a class action charging State Farm with breaching its contract with policyholders in 48 states by directing mechanics to use generic rather than auto manufacturers’ parts. The outcome: Jury verdict of $456 million. Bench damages award of $730 million. Barrett says the key factor in winning at trial was to “present our case simply.” By acting relaxed and dressing informally (khakis and sports coats), Barrett and his co-counsel drew a contrast with the blue-suited State Farm team and won over the jury in the small Illinois town in which it was tried. “The key to our case, though, was the documents we obtained primarily from State Farm,” Barrett says. “State Farm damned itself over the last 14 years by what it put on paper.”

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