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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
January 10, 2022, Argued and Submitted January, San Francisco, California; February 11, 2022, Filed
R. NELSON, Circuit Judge:
In this auto insurance suit, the district court declined to certify a proposed damages class because it held both that individual questions predominated over common questions and that individualized trials were superior to a class action. Because neither holding was an abuse of discretion, we affirm.
This case [**4] is about how auto insurance companies value totaled vehicles. Plaintiffs Leeana Lara and Cameron Lundquist sued both Liberty Mutual, 2 an auto insurer, and CCC Intelligent Solutions, a company that Liberty works with to help it develop its valuations. Plaintiffs allege that Liberty breached its contracts with its insureds and that both companies violated Washington's unfair trade practices law and committed civil conspiracy. 3 Plaintiffs' claims and this appeal depend on the details of Liberty's valuation process.
A car is "totaled" when it makes more sense to salvage the car than to fix it. When that happens, the insurance company has to figure out how much the car was worth before the accident, so it knows how much to pay the insured. ] In Washington, the insurer only has to pay the "actual cash value" of the car—the "fair market value." Wash. Admin. Code § 284-30-320(1). Paying the actual cash value requires the insurer to figure out how much the car would have been sold for before the accident. Looking at the car after the accident doesn't always indicate its worth before, so Liberty values the totaled car with a multi-step process involving a separate company (CCC, the other defendant).
Liberty's method uses a [**5] report about the value of "comparable vehicles," provided by CCC. To start, a Liberty adjuster inspects the car and then tells CCC about it. CCC then prepares a valuation report. It makes that report using a database of cars at dealerships all around the country. Essentially CCC's business is that it tracks car sales: it goes to dealerships all over, inspects cars, and tracks their sales. Then, when an insurer like Liberty contacts it about a car, it prepares a valuation report. It starts with the value of comparable cars—other cars that are a similar make and model, are in similar condition, and have similar features. It then adjusts from that price to better estimate the value of the totaled car. For example, if the totaled car had fancy after-market features, then CCC would adjust the price up.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
25 F.4th 1134 *; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 3835 **; 111 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1642; 2022 WL 414691
LEEANA LARA, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated; CAMERON LUNDQUIST, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. FIRST NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, a New Hampshire Corporation; LM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY; CCC INTELLIGENT SOLUTIONS INC., Defendants-Appellees.
Subsequent History: Motion granted by Lara v. First Nat'l Ins. Co. of Am., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 3862 (9th Cir. Wash., Feb. 11, 2022)
Rehearing denied by, En banc, Rehearing denied by, Motion denied by, Motion granted by Lara v. First Nat'l Ins. Co. of Am., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 12582 (9th Cir. Wash., May 10, 2022)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Robert J. Bryan, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 3:18-cv-05301-RJB.
Lundquist v. First Nat'l Ins. Co. of Am., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195746, 2020 WL 6158984 (W.D. Wash., Oct. 21, 2020)
district court, predominate, regulations, class action, valuation, insurer, unfair trade practice, totaled, common question, individualized, dealerships, adjuster, damages, breach of contract, class member, questions, certify
Insurance Law, Types of Insurance, Property Insurance, Actual Cash Value, Business & Corporate Compliance, Industry Practices, Unfair Business Practices, Private Causes of Action, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Deductibles, Regulators, State Insurance Commissioners & Departments, Rules & Regulations, Civil Procedure, Class Actions, Prerequisites for Class Action, Maintainability, Numerosity, Superiority, Typicality, Predominance, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Special Proceedings, Certification of Classes, Judicial Discretion, Appellate Review, Antitrust & Trade Law, Consumer Protection, Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices, State Regulation, Breach, Breach of Contract Actions, Elements of Contract Claims