Class Action Cases

Cash Settlement
$22,000,000

June 2001 Morrell et al v. Honeywell f/k/a Allied Chemical Co., U.S. District Court, Southern Dist. of Georgia.

Lead Plaintiff Tony Morrell and over one-hundred former employees, who had worked at a chlor-alkali chemical plant in Glynn County, Georgia, were exposed to high levels of mercury, PCBs and other chemicals as a result of defective equipment, leaks and poor site management. Each of the plaintiff/employees was thoroughly examined by a neurologist who made specific findings regarding the effects of their exposure to mercury and other chemicals. After substantial discovery that lasted several years, extensive medical review, expert testimony, and multiple efforts to dismiss the case, the defendant, prior to trial, paid $22 million to resolve the workers' claims. The money was allocated among the workers by a Special Master, based on a matrix of court-ordered categories including the type of work, amount of exposure and objective medical findings.


Cash Settlement -- Nationwide Class Action
$49,000,000

3/14/08 Pierce v. Universal Underwriters Life Insurance Company, Superior Court of Muscogee County, Georgia.

Credit Insurance Class Action. Unearned premium refunds due as a result of early termination of insured loans. Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, served as co-class counsel with Samuel W. Oates of Oates & Courville in Columbus in a class action settlement which was preliminarily approved by Judge Doug Pullen on March 14, 2008. Pierce v. Universal Underwriters had been certified as a class action on March 5, 2007. Most such settlements in the past have been on a "claims made" approach. Class counsel conceived a different approach calculated to identify and locate more insureds due refunds. UULIC has agreed to create a database of information about potential class members who may be entitled to unearned premium refunds due to early termination. That database will then be turned over to class counsel and to Rust Consulting, a national settlement administration firm, which will act as settlement administrator. UULIC will pay $49 million into an interest-bearing trust fund to be used to pay refunds due to all class members who can be located, costs of administration, and attorney fees (which will be set by the court). Class counsel and Rust consulting will then use lender contacts and credit reporting agency analysis to determine the loan termination dates for all insureds within the applicable states' statutes of limitation, and determine thereby which insureds are due refunds as a result of early termination, obtain updated addresses for such insureds, and issue refunds. All funds remaining will be placed in a remainder fund, to be donated to appropriate charitable institutions as decided by a remainder fund committee appointed by the court. The settlement will be administered by the court and class counsel.


Cash Settlement -- National Class Action
$45,000,000

10/31/07 Toole v. JMIC Life Insurance Company, Superior Court of Muscogee County, Georgia.

Credit Insurance Class Action. Unearned premium refunds due as a result of early termination of insured loans. Butler Wooten & Peak LLP served as co-class counsel with Samuel W. Oates, Jr. of Oates & Courville in Columbus in a class action settlement which was preliminarily approved by Judge Doug Pullen. Most such settlements in the past have been on a "claims made" approach. Class counsel conceived a different approach calculated to identify and locate more insureds due refunds and locate them. JMIC has agreed and been ordered to create a database of information about potential class members who may be entitled to unearned premium refunds due to early termination. That database will then be turned over to class counsel and to Rust Consulting, a national settlement administration firm, which will act as Settlement Administrator. JMIC will pay $45 million into an interest-bearing trust fund to be used to pay refunds due to all class members who can be located, costs of administration, and attorney fees (which will be set by the court). class counsel and Rust Consulting will then use lender contacts and credit reporting agency analysis to determine the loan termination dates for all insureds within the applicable states' statutes of limitation, and determine thereby which insureds are due refunds as a result of early termination, obtain updated addresses for such insureds, and issue refunds. All funds remaining will be placed in a remainder fund, to be donated to appropriate charitable institutions as decided by a remainder fund committee appointed by the court. The settlement will be administered by the court and class counsel.


Nationwide Class Action Settlement

5/16/07 Perkins v. American National Insurance Company, United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia

Credit Insurance Class Action. Unearned premium refunds due as a result of early termination of insured loans. Butler Wooten & Peak LLP served as co-class counsel with Ben B. Philips of Philips & Branch in Columbus in a class action settlement which was preliminarily approved by Judge Clay Land on May 16, 2007. Most such settlements in the past have been on a "claims made" approach. Class counsel conceived a different approach calculated to identify more insureds due refunds and locate them. In this case American National has agreed and has been ordered to create a database of information about potential class members with all information necessary to identify those insureds who may be entitled to unearned premium refunds. American National will contact its dealers and its insureds' lenders to determine the loan termination date for each insured covered during the applicable states' statutes of limitation. That information will enable American National to identify those insureds due refunds. The settlement process will be audited by Rust Consulting, a national settlement administration firm.