Buckner v. Resource Life Insurance Co.

Joel O. Wooten Jr.

Case Conclusion Date:November 22, 2010

Practice Area:Class Action

Outcome:Cash Settlement--$47,750,000

Description:Plaintiff Dorothy Buckner brought this class action on behalf of herself and a group of Resource Life insureds who did not receive a refund of their unearned credit insurance premiums when they paid off their insured car loans early. Defendant Resource Life contended that language in its credit insurance contract meant that it had no obligation to refund its insureds' unearned credit insurance premiums unless and until its insureds wrote it and requested a refund. Plaintiff's counsel prevailed on that key issue and established that the Defendant had no right to keep its insureds' money. A Class was thereafter certified by the Superior Court of Muscogee County, Georgia. During discovery, Plaintiff's counsel learned that Resource Life was concealing important evidence it had previously told both the Court and Plaintiff's counsel it did not have. Plaintiff's counsels' determination to find this hidden evidence and resulted in what is believed to be the largest sanction in Georgia history being entered against Resource Life for misconduct and discovery abuse. The trial court's orders granting that sanction and certifying a class action were upheld by a unanimous panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals. Resource Life paid $47,750,000 into a Settlement Fund to settle the case. The Settlement provides that Settlement Class Members have the opportunity to receive the unearned credit insurance premiums they are owed by Resource Life.