The Los Angeles County Superior Court granted the motion to certify a class of current and former California Farmers agents in February 2021. The court also appointed the plaintiffs’ attorneys to represent the certified class and appointed the plaintiffs as class representatives.
What does it mean? The case will proceed to trial as a class action. The claims are that Farmers must reimburse the California agents in the class for the expenses they have incurred running Farmers’ agencies because it has been treating them as employees and not independent contractors.
Do Plaintiffs want to reclassify current agents as employees? No. They want Farmers to follow the law to treat the agents as independent contractors and they want Farmers to reimburse them (and the class) for the time during which Farmers failed to follow the law. Plaintiffs claim that, starting at least in 2013, Farmers adopted a new customer strategy that resulted in it treating the agents like employees. Plaintiffs’ class certification brief contains more detail about these allegations, and you can access a public copy at farmersinsurancelawsuit.com/court-filings (click on Plaintiffs’ Class Certification Brief). A copy of Jeff Dailey’s presentation to Zurich investors explaining Farmers’ new strategy is also available at zurich.com/en/investor-relations/presentations (year 2014, Investor Update 2014).
To be clear, plaintiffs are not seeking an injunction forcing Farmers to reclassify current agents as employees. In fact, Farmers argued that plaintiffs cannot not obtain such an injunction and plaintiffs agreed.
What do I have to do? Nothing. If you are in the class, you should receive a court-approved notice explaining your rights and options in the next two or three months. Also, the plaintiffs’ attorneys plan to arrange for an informational webinar to discuss the case. If you want more information about the webinar, or have questions in general, please email the plaintiffs’ attorneys or contact them through farmersinsurancelawsuit.com.
Does Farmers represent current or former agents? No. Because the court has certified the class, Farmers’ interests are adverse to class members, with respect to this lawsuit. If you are class member, then plaintiffs’ attorneys are representing your interests in this case. (The class definition can be found at farmersinsurancelawsuit.com and will be further explained in the forthcoming class notice.) From this point until the case is resolved, Farmers (and its representatives including managers, district managers, and attorneys) should not be discussing the case with current or former agents or advising them about the case. Plaintiffs’ attorneys ask that you contact them if you become aware of such communications.
You may contact plaintiffs’ attorneys at email@example.com or contact them through farmersinsurancelawsuit.com.