Eighth Circuit Affirms $34.3M Jury Verdict Against State Farm Life Insurance Co.

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Miller Schirger LLC and Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP secured a victory at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals with affirmance of a $34.3 million jury verdict against State Farm Life Insurance Co. for overcharges on life insurance policies in the case of Michael Vogt vs. State Farm Life Insurance Company.

“The court’s decision affirms that, simply put – if you want to charge for it, you need to put it in the contract.”

The class action was filed in June 2016, in the Western District of Missouri by Michael Vogt and other individuals who owned universal life insurance policy form 94030 issued by State Farm. The lawsuit alleged that State Farm breached the terms of the policies by overcharging policyholders through cost of insurance provisions causing policies to lose value and in many cases lapse, leaving many without life insurance.

Trial commenced June 1, 2018 and the jury awarded $34.3 million to approximately 24,000 Missouri policyholders. State Farm appealed to the Eighth Circuit asserting various errors and Vogt cross appealed. Vogt prevailed on all issues.

“We’re very happy with the court’s decision to affirm the trial court,” said John Schirger, co-lead counsel and founding partner of Miller Schirger LLC. “We hope that these policyholders, who for decades were unknowingly overcharged, will soon finally receive payments.”

“Many insurers define the cost of their insurance fees by delineating factors outside typically considered mortality elements and in this case the costs of charges weren’t outlined with specificity,” said Norman Siegel, co-lead counsel and founding partner of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP. “The court’s decision affirms that, simply put – if you want to charge for it, you need to put it in the contract.”

Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP and Miller Schirger LLC are currently representing clients in similar cases in California, Texas and the State of Washington, and are investigating matters involving life insurance policies nationwide. The firms have a successful record prosecuting class action cases alleging policy overcharges against the life insurance industry, having collected over $2.25 billion in client value over the last five years against some of the nation’s largest life insurance companies.

Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP is a Kansas City, Missouri based firm representing businesses and individuals in high-stakes litigation nationwide on a contingency basis. The firm is one of the preeminent plaintiff's trial law firms in the nation, known for its high-stakes, landmark verdicts and settlements in significant individual and class action litigation. Since its establishment in 2001, the firm has led some of the most complex and high-profile cases in state and federal courts, recovering billions in verdicts and settlements. For more information visit http://www.stuevesiegel.com.

Miller Schirger LLC is a Kansas City, Missouri based law firm focused on resolving complex disputes on behalf of businesses and individuals nationwide. The firm has a proven track record of success representing plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal trial and appellate courts. For over ten years the firm’s class action practice has been focused on prosecuting claims against the life insurance industry, resulting in the recovery of over $2.25 billion in client value. For more information visit http://www.millerschirger.com.

Vogt v. State Farm Life Insurance Co., No. 18-3419 (8th Cir. 2020)

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Amy Nouri

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