X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Just in time for Labor Day, claims adjusters for one of the country’s largest insurance companies were rewarded for all their overdue overtime labor. On Friday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw approved a settlement plan that plaintiffs lawyers say will top $200 million. The settlement resolves the largest overtime pay class action ever tried in the United States. The underlying suit, filed in 1996 by Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff, accused Farmers Insurance Exchange of cheating 2,402 California-based claims adjusters out of overtime pay. Farmers had argued that the employees were administrators exempt from overtime regulations. Oakland jurors disagreed, and in 2001 awarded more than $90 million for unpaid overtime. The First District Court of Appeal affirmed the award in February, and the state Supreme Court denied review in May. In settling, plaintiffs lawyers say, Farmers agreed to pay the entire judgment, as well as attorneys fees and accumulated interest, which added about $80 million to the recovery. In addition, Farmers agreed to begin paying overtime to all California class members and to throw in $40 million more for overtime pay accrued since the trial. “We have been working on behalf of Farmers’ California claims representatives for more than eight years,” lead counsel Steven Zieff said, “and are gratified to see that justice has finally been served.” Co-counsel Michael Rubin, of Altshuler, Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain, said that the appeal courts had settled the legal principles in the case years ago. “But Farmers and its industry supporters kept fighting their workers’ claims with all their resources,” he said. “We are delighted that the workers will finally be fairly compensated for their long hours of work on Farmers’ behalf.” Farmers GC Jason Katz and outside trial counsel Lee Paterson of L.A.’s Winston & Strawn were both traveling Friday afternoon and unavailable for comment. Plaintiffs lawyers said that the total payment would not be calculated until March, but that it is expected to exceed $200 million. The case is Bell v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 774013-0. A separate case against Farmers on behalf of claims adjusters outside California is pending in federal court in Portland, Ore. Friday’s settlement, however, doesn’t resolve a malpractice suit against Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff in which one claims adjuster argued that the firm could have gotten a larger payout than the original $90 million judgment if it had filed an additional claim under the state’s unfair competition law. The 1st District Court of Appeal, in Janik v. Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff, A102513, cleared the case for trial in June. The firm has petitioned for review by the state Supreme Court.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.