Judge Rules American Family Insurance Misclassified its Agents as Independent Contractors
Following a unanimous advisory jury verdict in April, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Nugent has issued a decision on Tuesday, August 1st stating that American Family Insurance had misclassified agents as independent contractors instead of employees. In addition, the Court denied American Family’s request that the class be decertified.
The case (Jammal, et al. v. American Family Insurance, Case No.: 13-cv-00437) alleged that by misclassifying employees as contractors, American Family Insurance violated ERISA, the federal law protecting employee retirement benefits. Judge Nugent agreed that the due to the degree of control American Family Insurance retained over its agents, they must be regarded as employees as a matter of law. The plaintiffs and class were represented by trial counsel consisting of Erin K. Dickinson and Charles J. Crueger of Crueger Dickinson LLC., and Edward A. Wallace of Wexler Wallace LLP.
“We are pleased with the Court’s rulings supporting the jury’s verdict and denying the request to decertify the class. We look forward to proceeding to the next phase of the case, which could spark a chain reaction throughout the insurance industry,” said attorney Ed Wallace. “A unanimous jury, and now the Judge, agreed that the agents were misclassified as independent contractors. This is a great day for the agents who had the courage to challenge the practices of a large corporation and fight for years to protect their rights as employees,” said attorney Erin Dickinson. “Large corporations can’t have it both ways. If you are going to dictate how people do their jobs, you have to give them the same benefits as other employees.”
In addition to Ms. Dickinson, Mr. Crueger, and Mr. Wallace, the Plaintiffs were also represented by Kara A. Elgersma of Wexler Wallace LLP, Jack Landskroner and Drew Legando of Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC, and Gregory F. Coleman of Greg Coleman Law PC.
For more information about this case, please contact:
Edward A. Wallace: 312-589-6272 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kara A. Elgersma: 312-589-6274 or email at email@example.com