JUSTICE FOR SANTA BARBARA BUSINESS OWNERS INDUCED TO PURCHASE FRAUDULENT LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICIES
March 5, 2008
Local businesses declared victims of fraudulent scheme
Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, LLP, on behalf of two local business owners brought a class action lawsuit for numerous Southern California bars and restaurants alleging that they were sold fake liability insurance under the pretense that the policies were underwritten by Lloyd’s of London. Named Plaintiffs in the case were James Fletcher, owner of Jimboz, and Mike Bastanchury, owner of Tiburon Tavern. Plaintiffs were tipped off to the fraudulent scheme when they received a letter from Lloyd's of London informing them that their policies were fake. The policies were issued on counterfeit "Lloyd's of London" letterhead. While the insurance brokers were unaware that the policies were fake, they had a duty to ensure that the policies were legitimate, argued Plaintiffs' attorneys. Defendants in the case included Brown & Brown of California, United Restaurant Insurance Services, and Richard Peterson.
After a lengthy litigation and several mediations, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge James W. Brown gave final approval of a settlement that called for distribution of $600,000 in settlement funds.
"Class actions are designed to protect a large number of people who financially cannot protect themselves, and that is what this case did for local bar and restaurant owners," said Plaintiffs' attorney Peter Bezek. "The settlements range anywhere from $1,000 to $31,000 per bar or restaurant," said Plaintiffs' attorney Robert Curtis.
The litigation was handled by Robert Curtis.