Case Number: No. 05-cv-1681

Practice Area: Consumer Protection Insurance & Financial Products

Case Status: Settled

Settlement Amount: $72.5 million

Court: United States District Court for the District of Connecticut

Berger Montague served as class counsel and obtained a $72.5 million cash settlement in this nationwide consumer protection civil RICO and insurance fraud class action against The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and its affiliates. Led by Peter R. Kahana of Berger Montague, the case was litigated in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut and captioned Spencer v. Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., No. 05-cv-1681 (D. Conn.). The settlement class included approximately 22,000 claimants who entered into structured settlements with Hartford property and casualty insurers to settle personal injury and workers’ compensation claims.

The lawsuit alleged that to fund the structured settlements to settle personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, the Hartford property and casualty insurers purchased annuities from their affiliate, Hartford Life. By purchasing the annuity from Hartford Life, the Hartford companies were able to retain up to 15% of the structured amount of the settlement in the form of undisclosed costs, commissions, and profit, which was concealed from the settling claimants.

On March 10, 2009, the district court granted class certification of two national subclasses for civil RICO and fraud. Spencer v. Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., 256 F.R.D. 284 (D. Conn. 2009). Following the denial of Hartford’s petition for interlocutory appeal, the district court granted final approval of the $72.5 million cash settlement on September 21, 2010.

In approving the settlement, U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall of the District of Connecticut noted:

the “very significant risk in pursuing this action” given its uniqueness in that “there was no prior investigation to rely on in establishing the facts or a legal basis for the case….[and] no other prior or even now similar case involving parties like these plaintiffs and a party like these defendants.” Further, “the quality of the representation provided to the plaintiffs … in this case has been consistently excellent…. [T]he defendant[s] … mounted throughout the course of the five years the case pended, an extremely vigorous defense…. [B]ut for counsel’s outstanding work in this case and substantial effort over five years, no member of the class would have recovered a penny…. [I]t was an extremely complex and substantial class … case … [with an] outstanding result.”

If you have been the victim of consumer fraud, insurance fraud, or deceptive and unfair business practices, or believe that a company has breached its contract with you or breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing, please contact Berger Montague.

About Berger Montague

Berger Montague is a national law firm focusing on complex civil litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States. For over half a century, Berger Montague has played lead roles in consequential, precedent-setting cases and has recovered over $50 billion for its clients and the classes they have represented. Berger Montague is headquartered in Philadelphia and has offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

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