Sandwich Chef of Texas, Inc. v. Reliance National Indemnity Insurance (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit)

Eimer Stahl attorneys obtained a victory when the Fifth Circuit reversed an order certifying a nationwide class in a RICO case naming dozens of insurance companies as defendants. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants conspired to defraud their policyholders by including unlawful charges in retrospectively-rated workers’ compensation insurance programs.  The district court held a five-day class certification hearing, at which the defendants argued class treatment was inappropriate because a trial would involve policyholder-specific evidence of negotiations and disclosures.  The district court certified a nationwide class of all persons who purchased a retrospectively-rated workers’ compensation program over a 16-year period, finding class members could establish RICO injury and causation by proving they paid an invoice containing the allegedly unlawful charge.  The Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that the district court had impermissibly ignored defendants’ evidence and submissions, which established the need for a jury to consider individual issues of knowledge, disclosure, and reliance.  Eimer Stahl attorneys took lead roles in drafting the appellate briefs on behalf of all defendants and prosecuting the appeal.

See Sandwich Chef of Texas, Inc. v. Reliance Nat. Indem. Ins., 319 F.3d 205 (5th Cir. 2003).