Holmes, et al. v . LM Insurance Corp, et al.
Homeowners Depreciation Settlement
Case No. 3:19-cv-00466

Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

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  • A Court authorized this notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of this class action, including the right to claim money, and about your options regarding this settlement before the Court decides whether to give “Final Approval” to the settlement. If the Court approves the parties’ Settlement Agreement, and if any appeals are resolved in favor of the settlement, then payments will be made to those who qualify and timely submit a valid claim. This notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who may be eligible for them, and how to get them.

    The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee is overseeing this class action. The case is called Holmes, et al. v. LM Insurance Corporation et al., Case No. 3:19-cv00466. The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs,” and the companies they sued are called the “Defendants.”

  • The settlement includes LM Insurance Corporation, Liberty Insurance Corporation, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Safeco Insurance Company of America, and Ohio Security Insurance Company (together “the Insurance Companies”).

  • The lawsuit claims that the Insurance Companies improperly deducted depreciation attributable to costs of labor and other nonmaterial items when adjusting some homeowners’ insurance claims in Tennessee and Mississippi, and some commercial property damage insurance claims in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Ohio. The Insurance Companies have maintained that they paid claims when reasonable and appropriate to do so and have denied all allegations that they acted wrongfully or unlawfully

  • In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case Martin Holmes, Patricia Holmes, Daphyne Foster, Gerald Foster, Ernest Tepper, Helping Hands Home Improvement, LLC, and Northside Church of Christ) sued on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a “Class” or “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or the Insurance Companies, and has not found that the Insurance Companies did anything wrong. Instead, both sides agreed to settle. That way, the parties avoid the cost of a trial and potentially an appeal, and the people who qualify will get compensation. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the settlement is best for all Class Members. The settlement does not mean that the Insurance Companies did anything wrong, no trial has occurred, and no merits determinations have been made. 

  • To see if you are eligible for benefits from this settlement, you first have to determine if you are a Class Member.

  • If you received a Notice, then you have been identified as someone who is likely to be a member of the Class.

    The Class includes: (a) all policyholders under any homeowners residential, manufactured home, condo, dwelling or rental property insurance policy issued by LM Insurance Corporation, Liberty Insurance Corporation, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and Safeco Insurance Company of America, except for those excluded (see below), who made a Structural Loss claim for property located in Tennessee or Mississippi during the applicable Class Periods, which was a Covered Loss; and (b) all policyholders under any commercial property insurance policy issued by Ohio Security Insurance Company, except for those excluded (see FAQ 7), who made a Structural Loss claim for property located in Tennessee, Mississippi, or Ohio during the applicable Class Periods, which was a Covered Loss; and (c) that resulted in an actual cash value payment from which Nonmaterial Depreciation was withheld, or that would have resulted in an actual cash value payment but for the withholding of Nonmaterial Depreciation causing the loss to drop below the applicable deductible.

    A Structural Loss means physical damage to a home, building, manufactured home, condo, rental dwelling, or other structure in Tennessee, Mississippi, or Ohio while covered by a homeowners residential, manufactured home, condo, dwelling or rental, or commercial property insurance policy issued by the companies under (a) and (b) above.

    A Covered Loss means a first party insurance claim for Structural Loss that (a) occurred during the Class Periods, and (b) the Insurance Companies or a court of competent jurisdiction determined to be covered under a Tennessee, Mississippi, or Ohio insurance policy issued by the companies under (a) and (b) above, and (c) resulted in an ACV Payment by the Insurance Companies, or would have resulted in an ACV Payment but for the deduction of Nonmaterial Depreciation.

    Nonmaterial Depreciation means depreciation of labor costs, overhead and profit, or other nonlabor items, and not of materials or sales tax, and that is subtracted from replacement cost value in determining an actual cash value payment. Nonmaterial Depreciation includes application of “depreciate removal”, “depreciate nonmaterial”, and “depreciate O&P” settings within Xactimate estimating software.

    The Class Periods mean the following time periods:

    For Tennessee policyholders of LM Insurance Corporation, Structural Loss claims with dates of loss on or after May 31, 2018.

    For Tennessee policyholders of Liberty Corporation, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Safeco Insurance Company, Structural Loss claims with dates of loss on or after October 17, 2018.

    For Tennessee policyholders of Ohio Security, Structural Loss claims with dates of loss on or after March 2, 2018.

    For Mississippi policyholders of LM Insurance Corporation, Liberty Corporation, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Safeco Insurance Company, Structural Loss claims with dates of loss on or after October 17, 2016.

    For Mississippi policyholders of Ohio Security, Structural Loss claims with dates of loss on or after March 2, 2017.

    For Ohio policyholders of Ohio Security, Structural Loss claims with dates of loss on or after March 24, 2018.

     
  • Excluded from the Class are: (a) policyholders whose claims arose under policy forms, endorsements, or riders expressly permitting deduction of Nonmaterial Depreciation within the text of the policy form, endorsement or rider, i.e., by express use of the words “depreciation” and “labor”; (b) policyholders who received one or more actual cash value payments that exhausted the applicable limits of insurance; (c) policyholders whose claims were denied or abandoned without actual cash value payments; (d) Defendants and their officers and directors; (e) members of the judiciary and their staff to whom this action is assigned and their immediate families; and (f) Class Counsel and their immediate families (collectively, “Exclusions”).

  • If you are not sure whether you are included in the Class, you may call the toll free number 1-833-928-2552 with questions or visit FAQ 6

  • Class Members who completed and signed a claim form and timely mailed it to the proper address or submitted the claim form by uploading it on this website, may be eligible for a payment. Under the settlement, the Insurance Companies have agreed to pay Class Members who timely submit valid claims determined as follows: (a) for Class Members to whom all Nonmaterial Depreciation has not been paid, 100% of the estimated Nonmaterial Depreciation that was withheld and not later paid, plus 5% interest on that amount from the last actual cash value payment to the date of Preliminary Approval of the settlement; (b) for Class Members to whom all Nonmaterial Depreciation that was withheld and later paid, 5% interest on the estimated Nonmaterial Depreciation that was initially withheld, from the date of the last actual cash value payment from which Nonmaterial Depreciation was withheld to the date all Nonmaterial Depreciation was paid.
     
    You MUST have submitted a claim form in order to determine whether you are eligible for and the amount of your settlement payment. If you did not, you WILL NOT receive a settlement payment. For additional details on the payment terms, please see the Settlement Agreement, which is available at the Important Documents page, or call toll free 1-833-928-2552.

  • To find out whether you are eligible for a payment, you must have completed and signed a claim form truthfully, accurately, and completely, to the best of your ability. You must have submitted a completed claim form to the Settlement Administrator before the deadline. The deadline to file a claim was March 23, 2021, and has passed.

  • The Court granted Final Approval of the settlement. Payments will be mailed to eligible Class Members after the claims administration process is completed. This process can take time, so please be patient.

     
  • Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means you can’t individually sue the Insurance Companies and the Released Persons over the claims settled in this case relating to deduction of Nonmaterial Depreciation from payments for Covered Losses. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

    If you submitted a Claim Form, or if you did nothing and stayed in the Class, you agreed to release all Released Claims against all Released Persons. “Released Claims” and “Released Persons” are defined in the Settlement Agreement, which is available on the Important Documents page.

  • If you did not want a payment from this settlement, and/or if you wanted to keep the right to individually sue about the issues in this case, then you must have taken steps to get out of the settlement. This is called excluding yourself from—or “opting out” of—the Class.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was January 3, 2021 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up any right to sue the Insurance Companies for the claims that this settlement resolves. You must have excluded yourself from the Class to individually sue the Insurance Companies over the claims resolved by this settlement. The deadline to exclude yourself in the Settlement was January 3, 2021 and has passed.

  • No. If you excluded yourself from the settlement, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for a payment.

  • The Court appointed the following law firms to represent you and other Class Members as Class Counsel:

    Erik D. Peterson (pro hac vice)
    MEHR, FAIRBANKS & PETERSON
    TRIAL LAWYERS, PLLC
    201 West Short Street, Suite 800
    Lexington, KY 40507
    T: (859) 225-3731
    edp@austinmehr.com

    J. Brandon McWherter (21600)
    Jonathan L Bobbit (23515)
    MCWHERTER SCOTT BOBBITT PLC
    341 Cool Springs Blvd., Ste. 230
    Franklin, TN 37067
    T: (615) 354-1144
    brandon@msb.law

    T. Joseph Snodgrass (pro hac vice)
    LARSON KING, LLP
    30 7th Street E., Suite 800
    St. Paul, MN 55101
    T: 651.312.6510
    jsnodgrass@larsonking.com

    You do not have to pay Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, and potentially have that lawyer appear in court for you in this case, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel received approval from the  Court for $1,816,053 for attorneys’ fees and $47,612.88 for reimbursement of their expenses, and an award for the Class Representatives of $7,500 each for their efforts in prosecuting this case (called a service award). The Insurance Companies have agreed not to oppose the request for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards up to these amounts. The Insurance Companies will pay these attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards in addition to amounts due to Class Members. These payments WILL NOT reduce the amount distributed to Class Members. The Insurance Companies will also separately pay the costs to administer the settlement.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was January 4, 2021 and has passed.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class or the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you. If you object, and the Court approves the settlement anyway, you will still be legally bound by the result.

  • The Court held a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement. You may have attended and you may asked to speak, but you did not have to.

  • The Court held a Final Approval Hearing at 9:30 a.m. on February 5, 2021 at the United States Courthouse, 801 Broadway, Courtroom A859, Nashville, Tennessee. At the hearing, the Court considered whether the settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate. At the hearing, the Court decided to approve the settlement.

     
  • If you do nothing, you’ll get NO payment from this settlement. But, unless you excluded yourself from the settlement, you won’t be able to individually sue for the claims resolved in this case.

  • The notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. If you have questions or if you want to request a copy of the Settlement Agreement, which provides more information, call 1-833-928-2552 or visit the Important Documents page.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Homeowners Depreciation Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 11050
Seattle, WA 98111