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Walls v. Sagamore Insurance Co., No. 07-1020, 2009 WL 890528 (W.D. Ark. Mar. 31, 2009)

After multiple rounds of briefing, the court in this case denied the plaintiff’s motion for class certification against VBLH&C’s client.  The plaintiff asserted that, by allegedly cancelling insurance policies in a manner inconsistent with state insurance laws (by providing one notice of cancellation rather than two), the defendant had breached its contracts with policy- holders across 10 states.  The plaintiff sought to represent a class of such policy-holders.  VBLH&C, however, argued that the class definition was overly-inclusive and thus improper.  For example, VBLH&C argued that the class definition included individuals who had no damages and thus had no breach-of-contract claims.  VBLH&C pointed out, if a particular individual’s insurance policy was cancelled and that individual did not have an accident during the remaining original policy term, then that individual benefited (in retrospect) from not having to pay an insurance premium (because the insurance was unnecessary).  In other words, the individual had no damages.  And, since damages are part of a breach of contract claim, VBLH&C argued that a class definition including such persons – that is, including persons without a claim – was improper.  Moreover, excluding such persons would require a multitude of fact-intensive individual inquiries eliminating any alleged efficiencies of class certification.  Thus, VBLH&C successfully argued that class certification should be denied.