Rogowski et al. v. State Farm Life Insurance Company et al., Case No. 4:22-cv-00203-RK
State Farm’s records show that you own or owned one of the covered Flexible Premium Adjustable Whole Life (or Universal Life) Insurance policies (or were identified as the legal representative of such an owner) that was in force on or after January 1, 2002. A Court authorized the Class Notice and this website because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement and all of your options before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. The Class Notice and this website explain the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.
United States District Judge Roseann A. Ketchmark of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri is overseeing this case. The case is known as Rogowski et al. v. State Farm Life Insurance Company et al., Case No. 4:22-cv-00203-RK. The persons who sued, David M. Rogowski, Elizabeth A. Bally, Kathy Bauer, Kim Botte, John E. Jaunich, Mylene McClure as personal representative of the Estate of Earl L. McClure, Ronald K. Page, Chandra B. Singh, Joyce Thomas, David Toms, and William T. Whitman, are called the “Plaintiffs.” State Farm Life Insurance Company and State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company are collectively called “State Farm.”
The following is only a summary of the Settlement. A full description of the Settlement is in the Settlement Agreement. Nothing in the Class Notice or on this website changes the terms of the Settlement Agreement. You can read the Settlement Agreement here.Back To Top
This lawsuit is about whether State Farm’s Cost of Insurance deductions were consistent with the policy language in its Form 94030/A94030 and 94080/A94080 Flexible Premium Adjustable Whole Life (or Universal Life) Insurance policies (“Policies”). The Policies have an Account Value that earns interest at or above a minimum rate guaranteed under the Policies. The Policies expressly authorize State Farm to take a Monthly Deduction from the Account Value to cover various charges.
Plaintiffs allege that State Farm violated the Policies in two different ways. First, the Form 94030/A94030 Policy says that the Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates for each “policy year” will be “based on the Insured’s age on the policy anniversary, sex, and applicable rate class,” and the Form 94080/A94080 Policy says that the Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates for each “policy year” will be “based on the Insured’s age on the policy anniversary and applicable rate class.” Both Policies say that the rates “can be adjusted for projected changes in mortality.” Plaintiffs allege that State Farm impermissibly used factors other than those identified in the Policies when setting Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates. Second, while the Policies permit a separate Monthly Expense Charge, Plaintiffs allege that State Farm exceeds the fixed amount of this charge by considering its expenses when setting Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates.
State Farm denies all of Plaintiffs’ claims, including claims challenging the pricing of the Policies and development and application of the Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates, and asserts that, at all times, it complied with the plain language of the Policies by deducting charges from the Account Value, including but not limited to the Monthly Expense Charge and the Cost of Insurance, that are, and always have been, consistent with the language and terms of the Policies.
You can read Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Class Action Complaint and State Farm’s Answer to the Second Amended Class Action Complaint on the Important Documents page of this website.Back To Top
Plaintiffs filed eleven lawsuits, including this case, against State Farm regarding the allegations described in FAQ 2. The first case, Vogt v. State Farm Life Insurance Company, consisted of Missouri policy owners and was tried to a jury several years ago. If you were a Missouri policy owner, you may have received notice and a payment in that lawsuit. Nine additional class action cases were filed on behalf of California, Washington, Minnesota, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, and New York policy owners, and on behalf of policy owners in Missouri who continued to own their Policies following the Vogt judgment. If you were a policy owner in California, Washington, Minnesota, or Arizona, you may have already received a class notice about those cases. This Settlement and Class Notice supersedes all prior notices you may have received, including those in Missouri, California, Washington, Minnesota, and Arizona. If you previously requested exclusion from those classes, you will need to request exclusion again to be excluded from the Settlement and this Class. This Settlement, if approved by the Court, will resolve all of these cases.Back To Top
The Parties negotiated the Settlement with an understanding of the factual and legal issues that would affect the outcome of this lawsuit. During the lawsuit, Plaintiffs, through their attorneys, thoroughly examined and investigated the facts and the law relating to the issues in this case.
Plaintiffs believe that the final outcome of the lawsuit and the other lawsuits identified in FAQ 3, if they were to proceed through trial and appeals, is uncertain. A settlement avoids the costs and risks of further litigation and provides immediate relief to the Settlement Class Members. Based on their evaluation of the facts and law, Plaintiffs and their attorneys have determined that the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. They have reached this conclusion based on the substantial benefits the Settlement provides to Settlement Class Members and the risks, uncertainties, and costs inherent in the lawsuit.
While there was a trial in the Vogt case, there has been no trial and there has been no final appellate determinations on the merits of the claims or defenses in this lawsuit or the other lawsuits. However, the trial courts in California, Washington, and Minnesota ruled against the owners of Policies issued in those states as to some or all of their claims. A copy of these orders may be found on the Important Documents page of this website, here. There will be no trial or final determination on the merits of the remaining claims and defenses if the Court approves the Settlement. The Settlement does not indicate that State Farm has done anything wrong, or that Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class Members would win or lose if this lawsuit or any of the other lawsuits were to go to trial.Back To Top
The Settlement Class includes all persons or entities who own or owned one of the approximately 760,000 Policies issued by State Farm. Policies means all Form 94030/A94030 Flexible Premium Adjustable Whole Life (or Universal Life) Insurance policies, as well as all Form 94080/A94080 Flexible Premium Adjustable Whole Life (or Universal Life) Insurance policies that were issued and administered by State Farm or their predecessors in interest. A Policy includes all applications, schedules, riders, and other forms that were specifically made a part of the Policies at the time of their issue, plus all riders and amendments issued later. Policies include everything that was part of “The Contract,” as that term is defined in your Policy or Policies.
You are not part of the Settlement Class if you are State Farm; any entity in which State Farm has a controlling interest; any of the officers or board of directors of State Farm; the legal representatives, heirs, successors, and assigns of State Farm; anyone employed with Plaintiffs’ counsel’s law firms; or any Judge to whom this case is assigned or his or her immediate family.
If someone who would otherwise be a Settlement Class Member is deceased, his or her estate is a Settlement Class Member.Back To Top
If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you can get free help by sending your questions to the Settlement Administrator, in writing, to PO Box 3019, Portland, OR 97208-3019 or calling the Settlement Administrator at 1-855-475-1182. You may also email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.Back To Top
State Farm has agreed to fund a Settlement Fund in the amount of $325 million, which will be used to pay (1) all payments to Settlement Class Members; (2) Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and expenses in an amount to be approved by the Court; (3) any service awards to Plaintiffs in an amount to be approved by the Court; and (4) the expenses incurred in administering the Settlement. The Net Settlement Fund equals $325 million less the amounts described in (2) through (4) as approved by the Court.
If the Court approves the Settlement, settlement checks will be mailed to Settlement Class Members in amounts that will vary according to a Distribution Plan. The Distribution Plan is designed to provide each Settlement Class Member an approximate pro rata portion of the Net Settlement Fund in proportion to the amount of monthly deductions actually paid by each Settlement Class Member for Cost of Insurance and Monthly Expense Charges subject to factors such as: a minimum cash payment; whether the Settlement Class Member was part of the class that received a share of the Vogt judgment; and whether the Settlement Class Member’s Policy is still in force.
The full Distribution Plan is attached to the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Approval and is available on the Settlement Website.
You should consult your own tax advisors about the tax consequences of the proposed Settlement, including any benefits you may receive and any tax reporting obligations you may have as a result.Back To Top
Settlement Class Members do not have to do anything to participate in the Settlement. No claims need to be filed. If the Court approves the Settlement, checks will be mailed to Settlement Class Members in amounts that will vary according to the Distribution Plan described in FAQ 7. If someone who would otherwise be a Settlement Class Member is deceased, his or her estate is a Settlement Class Member. If your address changes, you should contact the Settlement Administrator to give them your new address.Back To Top
The settlement checks will be sent to Settlement Class Members within 30 days after the Final Settlement Date, which is the date that the approval process is formally completed. Settlement checks will be automatically mailed without any proof of claim or further action on the part of the Settlement Class Members. It could take several months to complete the Settlement process and depends on factors that cannot be predicted at this time. Updates will be made available to you on the Settlement Website.Back To Top
If the Settlement is approved, you will receive a settlement check representing your share of the Settlement.
If the Settlement is approved, you cannot sue State Farm (or certain other released parties included as “Released Parties” in the Settlement Agreement) or be part of any other lawsuit against State Farm concerning the Released Claims, as that term is defined in the Settlement Agreement.
If your Policy is still in force, State Farm is not required to lower its Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates and may continue to use its current Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates. State Farm may also increase Monthly Cost of Insurance Rates if deterioration in its expectations as to future projected mortality is a material or primary reason for the increase.
The Settlement Agreement is available here and describes the claims that you are giving up. If you have any questions, you can talk to the law firms listed in FAQ 13 for free, or you can hire your own lawyer.Back To Top
Yes. If you don’t want a payment from the Settlement, and/or you want to keep the right to hire your own lawyer and sue State Farm at your own expense about the issues in this case, then you may request to be excluded from the Settlement Class by sending a written notice to the Settlement Administrator. The notice must include the following information:
Policy owners in one of the certified class states listed in FAQ 3 should carefully consider the status and rulings in the applicable case before asking to be excluded. The rulings in those cases may remain binding upon you if you elect not to participate in this Settlement, including any adverse rulings or judgments issued by the court while you were part of that certified class. Those cases, including the appeal taken by the class in the Washington case, will be dismissed with prejudice if this Settlement is approved.
If you want to exclude yourself from the Settlement, your written notice must be served on the Settlement Administrator by mailing it to PO Box 3019, Portland, OR 97208-3019, postmarked no later than March 6, 2023.Back To Top
You can object to the Settlement if you do not like some part of it. The Court will consider your views. To object to the Settlement, you must serve a written objection in the case, Rogowski et al. v. State Farm Life Insurance Company et al., Case No. 4:22-cv-00203-RK. The objection must include the following information:
You must serve your objection on the Settlement Administrator by mailing it to PO Box 3019, Portland, OR 97208-3019, postmarked no later than March 6, 2023.Back To Top
Yes. The Court appointed the following lawyers as “Class Counsel” to represent all the members of the Settlement Class:
Norman E. Siegel, Bradley T. Wilders, Lindsay Todd Perkins, Ethan M. Lange
Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP
460 Nichols Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64112
John J. Schirger, Matthew W. Lytle, Joseph M. Feierabend
Miller Schirger LLC
4520 Main St.
Kansas City, MO 64111
If you have questions, you may contact these lawyers. You will not be charged for contacting these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Back To Top
Class Counsel and the other lawyers who were involved in the pending cases have not been paid for their work in this case. In addition to thousands of hours of labor spent on this case, Class Counsel have expended substantial expenses prosecuting this case. The Court will determine how much Class Counsel will be paid for fees and expenses. Class Counsel will seek an award for attorneys’ fees of up to one-third of the Settlement Fund, plus reimbursement of Class Counsel’s costs and expenses (no more than $1,500,000), also to be paid from the Settlement Fund. You will not be responsible for payment of Class Counsel’s fees and expenses.
Class Counsel will also request a service award payment of up to $25,000 for each Plaintiff for their service as representative on behalf of the Settlement Class. This payment will also be paid from the Settlement Fund. The Court must approve any amounts paid to Class Counsel and to Plaintiffs.Back To Top
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement and any requests for attorneys’ fees and expenses, service awards to Plaintiffs, and the costs of settlement administration. You may attend and ask to speak, but you do not have to.
The Court will hold the Fairness Hearing at 1:30 P.M. on April 4, 2023 at the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, 222 N. John Q Hammons Parkway, Springfield, MO, 65806, Courtroom 2. The Fairness Hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice being mailed to you, so it is a good idea to check this website for any updates. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and in the best interests of Settlement Class Members and whether to award the requested attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards. If there are objections, the Court will consider them and will listen to people who have asked to speak at the Fairness Hearing. After the Fairness Hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long the Court’s decision will take.Back To Top
No, but you or your own lawyer are welcome to attend the Fairness Hearing at your expense. If you send a timely objection but do not attend the Fairness Hearing, the Court will still consider your objection.Back To Top
You may speak at the Fairness Hearing by filing an objection that indicates your intention to do so. If you wish to appear through counsel, your written objection must list the attorneys representing you who will appear at the Fairness Hearing. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, a Settlement Class Member who does not submit a timely objection with the required information will not be permitted to speak at the Fairness Hearing.Back To Top
The Class Notice and this website summarize the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can find a copy of the Settlement Agreement here. You may also email the Settlement Administrator at email@example.com, or send your questions in writing, to PO Box 3019, Portland, OR 97208-3019 or call the Settlement Administrator at 1-855-475-1182. You can review the Court’s docket in this case at www.pacer.gov.
If your address has changed or will change, please notify the Settlement Administrator by April 28, 2023.Back To Top