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Hubb v. State Farm

August 5, 2020

In Hubb v. State Farm, Plaintiff was involved in an accident in which he was rear-ended by the Defendant.  At the time of the accident, Plaintiff had a policy with State Farm and subsequently made a claim under PIP for nearly $26,000. Plaintiff’s policy stated that, should he recover from another party, State Farm was entitled to reimbursement for any PIP payments. Plaintiff negotiated a settlement with Defendant and his insurance company and received $60,000. State Farm then sought reimbursement for money paid to Plaintiff under PIP and filed an action in the D.C. Superior Court. The trial court granted summary judgment and entered a declaratory judgment in favor of State Farm.  Plaintiff, joined by the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC, appealed the judgment and argued that the reimbursement provision in the State Farm policy violated D.C.’s Compulsory/No Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act (D.C. Code § 31-2411(d) (2001)) (“No Fault Act”).  More specifically, Plaintiff asserted that State Farm was only entitled to subrogation against Defendant’s insurance company and not subrogation against the insured-Plaintiff.  The D.C. Court of Appeals disagreed and held that the No Fault Act specifically permitted insurers to recover via subrogation for insurance required to be offered in the District – e.g. PIP.   While insurers have a statutory right to seek subrogation from another insurer, there was nothing in the No Fault Act to suggest that the D.C. Council intended the Act to prevent insurers from recovering from an insured who agreed to subrogation in the policy.