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Peoples v. United Services Automobile Association

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 26, 2019

KRISTA PEOPLES, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED SERVICES AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION

          ROBERT S. LASNIK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on “Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification of CPA Claim, Appointment of Class Representative and Counsel, and Order Identifying Class Members.” Dkt. # 23. Having reviewed the memoranda, declarations, and exhibits submitted by the parties, [1] the Court finds as follows:

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that defendants United Services Automobile Association and USAA Casualty Insurance Company (collectively “USAA”) engaged in per se unfair acts in the business of insurance by unlawfully curtailing her benefits under the Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) provisions of her automobile policy. According to plaintiff, USAA refused to pay (or limited payment for) medical provider bills whenever an automated review process indicated that the charges for a particular procedure exceeded a certain threshold established in a database maintained by the actuarial firm Milliman, Inc. Plaintiff alleges that the failure to investigate or otherwise make an individualized determination regarding the reasonableness or necessity of the provider's charges before denying payment violates the PIP statute and Washington's insurance regulations. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on behalf of similarly situated insureds asserting a claim under the Washington Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”) and seeks to certify a class comprised of:

All Washington insureds who from September 1, 2015 to July 5, 2018 (“Class period”) had their PIP claims for reimbursement of medical expenses reduced by Defendant USAA based solely on an Explanation of Reimbursement (“EOR”) form sent to the insured's provider stating that the bill exceeded a “reasonable amount for the service provided.”

Dkt. # 101 at ¶ 71.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Prerequisites of a Class

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a), a plaintiff may sue in a representative capacity on behalf of a class only if:

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and
(4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

         A court must conduct a rigorous analysis to determine whether a purported class satisfies the prerequisites of Rule 23. Mazza v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 666 F.3d 581, 588 (9th Cir. 2012). The Rule “does not set forth a mere pleading standard:” the party seeking class certification must “affirmatively demonstrate his compliance with the Rule -- that is, he must be prepared to prove that there are in fact sufficiently numerous parties, ...


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