gavel.gif (3462 bytes) Consumer News

Allstate held liable for discouraging consumers
from obtaining counsel

On Jan. 24, Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini granted the State Attorney General Mike Fisher’s motion for summary judgment in a case involving llinois-based Allstate Insurance Company. The company has been held liable for illegally discouraging consumers from obtaining legal counsel to resolve their personal injury claims against the insurance giant. In 1998, the attorney general filed a lawsuit that accused Allstate of willfully misleading consumers. Specifically, Fisher’s suit alleged that Allstate provided consumers with personal letters and form documents that touted the benefits of allowing the company to settle their claims against its policyholders without hiring an attorney.

PaTLA President Timothy A. Shollenberger declared the decision a significant victory for Pennsylvania consumers and other consumers across the country who are involved in accidents with Allstate’s policyholders.

According to Fisher’s own press release, Pennsylvania was the only state to file a lawsuit against Allstate regarding its “Quality Service Pledge,” “Authorization to Furnish Medical/Employment Information,” and a form titled “Do I Need An Attorney?” According to the lawsuit filed by Fisher’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, the letters and forms encouraged consumers to allow Allstate to settle their claims without hiring an attorney to the detriment of consumers and the benefit of Allstate.

Fisher said the “Quality Service Pledge” claimed that the company would act in the interest of consumers who were not insured by Allstate by conducting a quick and fair investigation of the facts and determining if the potential claimant is eligible to receive compensation for any injuries. According to the lawsuit, the “Do I Need An Attorney?” form misrepresented to consumers that it was in their best interest to deal directly with Allstate. A separate document allegedly gave Allstate authorization to obtain consumers’ medical and employment information that could be shared with other interested parties.

A copy of the court’s opinion may be obtained from the attorney general’s web site


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