Illinois Car Rental Class Action Suit Rendered Moot

This week Madison County (Ill.) Circuit Judge Daniel Stack granted summary judgment on grounds of mootness, overturning attorney Lanny Darr's class action claim against Affirmative Insurance, according to legal journal The Madison/St. Clair Record.

Darr sued Affirmative in 2005 for telling him he could not rent a vehicle as nice as his own during repairs to his vehicle, The Record reports. After Darr sued he rented an expensive vehicle, sent the bill to Affirmative and received a check for the full amount.

Darr's attorney, Evan Schaeffer, told Stack that Darr could lead a class action anyway because he claimed punitive damages and because Affirmative broke Illinois insurance law, but Stack said the injury to the plaintiff was unclear.

Affirmative insured a driver who crashed into Darr's Ford Explorer on Feb. 14, 2005. Twenty-six days after the crash, Darr sued Affirmative, claiming the insurer told him it would reimburse a rental car at $18.90 a day.

Two days after suing, Darr rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee. He returned it three days later, paid $222.44, and sent Affirmative the bill. Affirmative sent Darr a check for $222.44, but instead of cashing it he moved to certify the suit as a class action fraud claim.

At the Dec. 18 hearing, Schaeffer claimed Affirmative wouldn’t pay for the rental vehicle until after a suit was filed, but defense attorney Robert Shultz said that because the suit was filed eight days before Darr submitted a bill for the rental, Affirmative was not given the opportunity to show whether or not it would pay and offered the check as a settlement.

Judge Stack said the suit was seeking what he called 'anticipatory damage,' and granted summary judgement on behalf of the defense.

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