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State Farm must pay Fishers contractor $14.5M, court rules

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a $14.5 million award of damages against State Farm Insurance to a Fishers-based construction firm.

The award is one of the largest defamation awards in U.S. history, according to the court.

Joseph Radcliff and his company, Coastal Property Management LLC, were awarded the damages by a jury in mid-2011after a six-week trial in Hamilton County.

Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm initially sued Radcliff and his company, which does business as CPM Construction of Indiana, in 2008, accusing him of racketeering and insurance fraud. The court found the suits were initiated after State Farm received bad press for denying homeowners’ claims for hail damage following a spring storm in central Indiana in 2006. Radcliff helped homeowners fight State Farm for coverage.

Radcliff filed a counterclaim, alleging defamation against the insurer.

The appeals court found the insurer couldn’t prove three arguments it made in an attempt to reverse the judgment.

State Farm claimed that its communications with the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department – which investigated claims made by State Farm against Radcliff that he created damage on customers’ roofs – were protected by statutory immunity and a common-law privilege for crime reporting; that Radcliff failed to prove actual malice by clear and convincing evidence; and that the damages award was excessive.

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  • Time to rename the company
    I bet State Farm will say they are dissapointed just like they did in their loss in Mississippi 2 days ago when a jury found State Farm committed fraud. Interesting that State Farm was claiming fraud in this case and lost, but got caught for fraud in Mississippi. Maybe they should change their name to STATE FRAUD as it seems to fit. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the executives of this company.
  • State Farm
    Look what they did to the good people of LA, MISS after Katrina. Same thing. A good neighbor...really????
  • Good Grief...
    Where was this company when I was unsuccessfully fighting State Farm for that same hail damage? They finally conceded and replaces ONE-QUARTER of my roof. WHAT??? Yes, one-quarter of the roof, I had to pay thousands to have the rest redone on my own...
  • Hey, Aaron Rogers!
    What happened to my "discount double check". everyone sing along..."like a good neighbor"
  • rates
    good for him .....although I suppose State Farm is going to up our rates AGAIN to recoup this

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