(Case No. 1:13 CV 437)
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division
If you are a current or former American Family Insurance Agent, your legal rights may be affected.
This website has been created to inform you of the class action lawsuit entitled Jammal, et al. v. American Family Ins. Group, et al., Case No. 1:13 CV 437, which is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division, before the Honorable Judge Donald C. Nugent (the “Litigation”). Notice of this class action lawsuit has been issued, because a Court has "certified" this case to proceed to trial as a class action lawsuit on issues of liability under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and your rights may be affected. If you are a current or former agent who falls within one or more of the Class definitions listed in the Notice, you may have legal rights and options that you can exercise before the Court decides whether the claims being made against American Family on your behalf are correct.
Please carefully review the information on this website, including the Frequently Asked Questions page, for answers to questions you may have. If you have further questions, contact information for the Claims Administrator is available on the Contact Us page. Please do not call the Court, American Family Insurance Group or American Family Insurance Group’s counsel with questions.
The Court held a jury trial starting on April 3, 2017. On April 18, the jury decided that American Family’s agents were employees for purposes of ERISA. On August 1, the Court confirmed the jury's verdict and also denied American Family's request to decertify the class. The Court's Opinion holding that American Family agents are employees for ERISA purposes can be found in the "Case Documents" section of this website.
On October 26, 2017, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied American Family's petition for review of the denial of the request to decertify the class and granted American Family's petition for review of the advisory jury's verdict, confirmed by Judge Nugent, that American Family agents were employees for ERISA purposes. The 6th Circuit has not yet ruled on that issue, only agreed to consider it. As of April 13, 2018, all briefing was filed with the Court of Appeals. Copies of the filed briefs can be found in the Case Documents section of this website. The Court has yet to rule on the parties' request for oral argument. If the Court grants the request, we will post the date and any additional information as soon as possible.
On July 31, 2018 oral argument on was held before a panel of three Six Circuit Court of Appeal judges on the employee vs. independent contractor classification issue. As expected, the Court now considers the appeal submitted and will render its decision in due course. We will not know what the next phase of the case entails until the panel issues a decision. Please keep in mind, the panel has no timetable or deadline to issue an opinion.
If you would like to listen to the argument, an audio recording of the argument can be found here: http://www.opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/internet/court_audio/AmericanFamilyArgumentAudio
On January 29, 2019, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on American Family's appeal of the District Court's holding that agents were employees for ERISA purposes. In a 2 to 1 decision, the Court of Appeals reversed and held that agents are independent contractors. We intend to seek further review of that decision and will update this website when there is additional information to provide. A copy of the decision can be found in the Case Documents section of this website.
On behalf of Plaintiffs and the Class, we filed a petition for rehearing en banc on February 26, 2019. The petition seeks review by the entire panel of Sixth Circuit judges of the January 29, 2019 2-1 decision, which reversed the district court's decision finding that agents were employees for ERISA purposes. The grant of en banc review is discretionary and there is no timetable as to when the court will rule on the petition. We will continue to keep you apprised, but there is no further information to share at this time. For your convenience, a copy of the petition can be found in the Case Documents section of this website.
Following the 6th Circuit's January 29, 2019 decision, American Family asked the district court to enter judgment in its favor. Plaintiffs asked the district court to continue the previously entered stay pending the Supreme Court's decision on Plaintiffs' petition for a writ of certiorari. The deadline for filing that petition has not yet come. On April 30, 2019, the district court granted Plaintiffs' motion for a continued stay and therefore judgment in American Family's favor will not be entered at this time. Further updates will be provided as appropriate. For your convenience, a copy of the order can be found in the Case Documents section of this website.
Your Legal Rights and Options in this Lawsuit
Stay in this lawsuit. Await the outcome.If you want to stay in the lawsuit, you don’t have to do anything. You will automatically remain a Class member and your interests will be represented by the named Plaintiffs and Class Counsel. You will give up your right to bring your own case against the American Family for the claims included in this lawsuit that seek money damages. If this case settles or the Court enters a final judgment, you will be bound by that settlement or judgment.
|ASK TO BE EXCLUDED||
Get out of this lawsuit. Retain the right to bring your own lawsuit.If you ask to be excluded from the Class, you will neither benefit nor be bound by any settlement or judgment, favorable or unfavorable. You can, if you choose, bring your own lawsuit against American Family for the claims included in this lawsuit that seek money damages. To ask to be excluded, you must act by February 21, 2017.