State Farm to Pay $250M to Settle Rigged Judge Trial
September 5, 2018—State Farm on Tuesday agreed to pay $250 million to settle a suit alleging it secretly worked to help elect an Illinois high court justice in order to overturn a billion-dollar judgment against it.
The deal, which was preliminary by U.S. District Judge David Herndon from the bench, ends some 20 years of litigation on the same day trial was set to begin.
The customers were seeking as much as $8.5 billion in damages in a civil racketeering trial that was set to start Tuesday in federal court in East St. Louis, Illinois. A judge granted preliminary approval to the accord and set a final fairness hearing for December, reported Bloomberg.
According to the report, the biggest U.S. auto insurer was accused in the case of leading an effort to recruit a judge friendly to its cause for the Illinois Supreme Court, secretly funding Judge LLoyd Karmeier’s 2004 election campaign by funneling money through advocacy groups that didn’t disclose donors. Under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, any damages would have been tripled.
The company denied any wrongdoing in settling the claim. The settlement “is made simply to bring an end to the entire litigation,” and “to avoid protracted litigation and appeals that could continue for several more years,” said company spokesman Jim Camoriano.