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LEVINSON, FRIEDMAN: CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST STATE FARM FOR 'UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE' ACTS

 SEATTLE, Nov. 18 ~PRNewswire~ -- A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of thousands of State Farm Insurance automobile policyholders in Washington state to halt the company's "unfair and deceptive" practices involving reimbursements for medical care.
 The Seattle law firm, Levinson, Friedman, Vhugen, Duggan & Bland, said today it has filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court asking for an injunction to halt State Farm's practice of paying only partial benefits under policyholders' personal injury protection (PIP) medical benefits.
 In 1991, State Farm collected more money for automobile insurance policies than any other company doing business in Washington state, the law firm said.
 "State Farm has a good reputation in the state of Washington, but their actions in this instance are reprehensible and inexcusable," according to Charles R. Jones, a partner at Levinson, Friedman. "State Farm policyholders in Washington state pay millions of dollars a year for medical coverage, but increasingly State Farm is refusing to reimburse people for the costs of necessary and reasonable care."
 Many State Farm customers choose to pay for Personal Injury Protection coverage, which is intended to provide reimbursement for medical costs resulting from automobile accidents, regardless of who is at fault. In recent months, however, State Farm has refused to fully reimburse some policyholders' medical costs.
 "State Farm's refusal to make full payment is based on its unilateral implementation of a medical services reimbursement schedule that is in total disregard of its contract with each of its policyholders," according to Jeffrey J. Duggan, an associate at Levinson, Friedman.
 "The bottom line is that State Farm is failing to live up to its contractual obligations. When State Farm collects a premium from a customer, it agrees to pay for all reasonable medical expenses incurred in the event of an accident. This new internal procedure has led to less than full payment," said Duggan.
 "Many State Farm policyholders have, as a result of the company's practice, foregone medical treatment, which has caused their physical condition to worsen. Others have expressed deep concern because of State Farm's sudden refusal to pay medical bills when they are injured and unable to earn income to pay the costs themselves," he said.
 In its lawsuit, Levinson, Friedman is asking the court to certify its class action lawsuit and issue an injunction to halt the practice. It also is seeking compensatory damages and penalties for all plaintiffs under Washington state's Consumer Protection Act.
 -0- 11~18~92
 ~CONTACT: Charles R. Jones or Jeffrey J. Duggan of Levinson, Friedman, Vhugen, Duggan & Bland, 206-624-8844~


CO: State Farm Insurance; Levinson, Friedman, Vhugen, Duggan & Bland ST: Washington IN: INS SU:

SW-LM -- SE008 -- 2517 11~18~92 16:08 EST
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Date:Nov 18, 1992
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