E-Alerts & Press Releases

PJC Files Brief in Case of Overcharged Insurance

December 3, 2010: After his title insurance company overcharged him, Maurice Carter brought a class action lawsuit, Carter v. Huntington Title & Escrow, LLC, to address the problem for himself and others in similar situations. The Circuit Court for Baltimore City dismissed the suit, however, because he didn’t ask the Maryland Insurance Administration to address the problem first.

On December 3, 2010, the Public Justice Center filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals along with the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition and the AARP. Murnaghan Appellate Advocacy Fellow Jessica Weber argued in the brief that Maryland law doesn’t require consumers to initially go through the Maryland Insurance Administration and that such a requirement would limit the ability of overcharged insurance consumers to address their claims in court.

The brief argued that this supposed requirement would effectively keep overcharged consumers from filing class action lawsuits against insurance companies. Class actions are an important option for people with small claims who would otherwise have a hard time getting lawyers to represent them. By restricting consumers’ access to the courts and forcing them to rely on the Maryland Insurance Administration’s limited enforcement authority, the requirement would give insurance companies room to continue unlawful business practices, including overcharging consumers. A rise in title insurance companies’ unlawful business practices would be particularly devastating for people struggling in the economic crisis by increasing the costs of homeownership.

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