June 26, 2019 – A panel of three justices sitting on the Second District Court of Appeal sided with firm client Aaron Samsky and today unanimously reversed the Oct. 2018 decision of a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, awarding the client his expenses (costs and attorney’s fees) against State Farm Insurance for having to prove certain matters in an uninsured motorist action. During that action, State Farm failed to admit – and indeed denied – that Mr. Samsky was blameless for being rear-ended by another vehicle and that he suffered injuries to his head and ulnar nerve as a result of that collision. In reversing the Superior Court judge, the appellate justices found that State Farm made no showing that it had any “reasonable grounds” to deny those matters, and agreed with the firm’s arguments that State Farm had the burden to show as much in order to avoid an award against it. The appellate court sent the case back to the trial court to determine the amount of the award; the client was also granted his costs on appeal. Further proceedings in the matter are pending. Mr. Samsky has brought an insurance bad faith claim against State Farm for its actions in denying his uninsured motorist claim; that case, now in Los Angeles federal court, is also pending. Firm partner David Given argued the appeal; he was assisted by associate Brian Conlon. The appellate court certified its decision for publication.
UPDATE — July 23, 2019 — The same appellate panel of three justices today rejected State Farm’s request for rehearing. In doing so, it modified its previous opinion to emphasize State Farm’s failure to address its lack of grounds to deny client Aaron Samsky’s requests that it admit he was not at fault for his car being rear-ended in a 2017 accident. State Farm has filed a petition for review of the appellate court’s opinion in the California Supreme Court. That petition as well as State Farm’s request that the Supreme Court depublish that opinion are pending. The firm has opposed the latter.