Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Allstate employees, please use this forum to offer suggestions about issues you feel might help the company in dealing with claims, or that might help us as insureds to deal with Allstate.

Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby Advisor » Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:56 pm

Ever wonder why there is an endless string of e-mails coming through the intranet about senior management leaving. Going to other companies, retiring or no comment. Look around, especially in management. See very many older 60+ people around? Of those that are there if you subtract the ones who came to the corporation via mergers you will find a pattern. If somebody falls out of favor you will be black balled by management. For senior managers to set up folks to fail it’s relatively easy. Accidentally upset your boss and watch what happens.

Sue for wrongful termination! Hah! As long as you are management the work expectations can be raised to any level. Revolting over the excess workload will get you nowhere. The law sees nothing wrong as long as they can easily fill those positions with young (not burned out) employees. They are experts at promoting and retraining younger employees who will do the work. They can and will replace older ones at the drop of a hat. As long as they can get somebody to do the job (15 hours a day and 6 days a week) or more they will continue to run off the older employees.

If your one of those young and rising star employees rest assured your day will come. Someday you will look around and say I have no life outside of work. As soon as you act on those thoughts you will be gone. And I guarantee it will be at a point where you are to old to easily find employment elsewhere and not yet ready to retire.

If you are really that anxious to take somebody’s position make sure it’s for the right reasons or the worm will turn on you also.
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Unread postby tpatrick » Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:55 am

i think i hear the worlds smallest violin...
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Unread postby RatPak11 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:49 pm


*Fortune has released a listing of "The 100 Best Companies To Work For" in 2008.
Allstate Insurance Company, a multi billion dollar a year corporation, which employs tens of thousands, is nowhere to be found on this register.
Why isn't Allstate listed???


http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/ ... index.html

100 Best Companies to Work For
Company/Job Growth/U.S. Employees
1 Google 60% 8,134
2 Quicken Loans 68% 4,920
3 Wegmans Food Markets 4% 35,302
4 Edward Jones 5% 31,451
5 Genentech 9% 10,842
6 Cisco Systems 17% 32,160
7 Starbucks 15% 134,013
8 Qualcomm 15% 10,095
9 Goldman Sachs 10% 13,764
10 Methodist Hospital System 11% 10,481
11 Boston Consulting Group 8% 1,543
12 Nugget Markets 20% 1,322
13 Umpqua Bank 25% 1,788
14 Network Appliance 25% 4,481
15 W. L. Gore & Associates 6% 5,211
16 Whole Foods Market 11% 41,385
17 David Weekley Homes -11% 1,450
18 OhioHealth 4% 11,254
19 Arnold & Porter -3% 1,272
20 Container Store 5% 3,019
21 Principal Financial Group 3% 13,438
22 American Century Investments -5% 1,694
23 JM Family Enterprises 4% 4,609
24 American Fidelity Assurance 1% 1,376
25 Shared Technologies 28% 1,401
26 Stew Leonard's 13% 2,282
27 S.C. Johnson & Son 0% 3,419
28 QuikTrip -5% 9,630
29 SAS Institute -1% 5,153
30 Aflac 5% 4,475
31 Alston & Bird 0% 1,762
32 Rackspace Managed Hosting 38% 1,443
33 Station Casinos 6% 14,920
34 Recreational Equipment (REI) 19% 9,137
35 TDIndustries 19% 1,595
36 Nordstrom 0% 49,769
37 Johnson Financial Group 12% 1,259
38 Kimley-Horn & Associates 9% 2,368
39 Robert W. Baird 0% 2,093
40 Adobe Systems 8% 3,900
41 Bingham McCutchen 0% 1,652
42 MITRE 5% 6,037
43 Intuit 11% 7,635
44 Plante & Moran 0% 1,522
45 Children's Healthcare of Atlanta 3% 5,427
46 CarMax 13% 14,223
47 J. M. Smucker 7% 3,042
48 Devon Energy 15% 3,368
49 Griffin Hospital 4% 1,133
50 Camden Property Trust -5% 1,894
51 Paychex 7% 11,622
52 FactSet Research Systems 21% 1,102
53 Vision Service Plan 6% 2,052
54 CH2M HILL -2% 15,674
55 Perkins Coie 6% 1,629
56 Scripps Health 6% 11,223
57 Ernst & Young 4% 25,947
58 Scottrade 13% 1,584
59 Mayo Clinic 4% 41,004
60 Alcon Laboratories 6% 6,848
61 Chesapeake Energy 15% 5,752
62 American Express 4% 30,162
63 King's Daughters Medical Center 13% 2,934
64 EOG Resources 17% 1,388
65 Russell Investments 5% 1,267
66 Nixon Peabody 9% 1,728
67 Valero Energy -8% 17,488
68 eBay 13% 7,769
69 General Mills -2% 17,090
70 Mattel 2% 5,000
71 KPMG 8% 22,857
72 Marriott International -2% 123,203
73 David Evans & Associates 9% 1,085
74 Granite Construction 6% 4,650
75 Southern Ohio Medical Center 7% 2,032
76 Arkansas Children's Hospital 8% 3,283
77 PCL Construction Enterprises 18% 3,558
78 Navy Federal Credit Union 15% 6,069
79 National Instruments 3% 2,353
80 Healthways 42% 3,730
81 Booz Allen Hamilton 7% 17,650
82 Nike 4% 14,570
83 AstraZeneca 5% 12,810
84 Stanley 7% 2,756
85 Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network 9% 8,420
86 Microsoft 8% 47,645
87 Yahoo 16% 7,915
88 Four Seasons Hotels 21% 12,851
89 Bright Horizons Family Solutions 7% 14,660
90 PricewaterhouseCoopers 5% 29,818
91 Publix Super Markets 5% 142,084
92 Milliken -8% 8,800
93 Erickson Retirement Communities 14% 10,248
94 Baptist Health South Fla. 4% 9,838
95 Deloitte & Touche USA 7% 36,517
96 Herman Miller 14% 6,063
97 FedEx 8% 228,211
98 Sherwin-Williams 1% 29,554
99 SRA International 6% 5,200
100 Texas Instruments -1% 15,051
Last edited by RatPak11 on Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:59 am

http://www.investmentnews.com/article/2 ... /110419953






Ex-Allstate agent sues for $15M, alleges “hostile takeover” of his business
A 28-year all-star agent claims wrongful termination, age bias
By Darla Mercado

April 14, 2011 3:08 pm ET

Veteran insurance agent Paul A. Mattus has filed suit against The Allstate Corp., claiming that the carrier had muscled him out of his book of business in order to pass it on to a newer, younger agent.

Mr. Mattus filed suit against the insurer and its subsidiary The Allstate Insurance Co. this Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, accusing the carrier of a slate of charges, including breach of contract, fraud and negligent infliction of mental distress.

He seeks $15 million for the value of his insurance practice, Paul A. Mattus Agency & Sons Inc., plus damages and legal fees. The firm sold a variety of Allstate coverage, including life and auto.

The tiff goes back to 2000, when Allstate allegedly terminated the employment contracts of some 6,500 captive agents, offering them an opportunity to become independent contractors if they signed an exclusive agency agreement with the insurer, according to the suit.

Despite becoming an independent contractor for Allstate, Mr. Mattus had been kept from selling competitors' products, according to the complaint.

Mr. Mattus, who had been an agent with Allstate since 1983, claims that the agents were told that if they became independent contractors, they'd have a major stake in their own businesses.

Using his own funds, Mr. Mattus said he created his own insurance agency and covered all of his own business expenses. He also grew his block of business, generating some $4 million in annual insurance premiums and was recognized by Allstate as a “top 10 producer,” according to the lawsuit.

Nevertheless, Allstate sent him a termination letter on Jan. 14, 2011, citing Mr. Mattus's “failure to achieve business objectives established by the company,” according to the complaint. The letter blocked the agent from engaging in any business and forced him to make a choice between selling the business to an approved buyer or to turn over his business to Allstate, Mr. Mattus alleges.

The agent claims that the insurer had tried to get rid of him when it discovered it could negotiate “more favorable” contractual terms with newer and younger agents.

"Allstate finds the suit to be totally without merit and will present its case in court," said April Eaton, spokeswoman for the insurer.

The insurer “took all steps necessary to remove Mr. Mattus from Allstate in such a way as to retain his sizeable book of business to the benefit of Allstate and a newer, younger agent,” according to the complaint. “As an older agent, Mr. Mattus did not fit in with the new, improved Allstate.”

Jacqueline Jackson-DeGarcia, Mr. Mattus's attorney, said that she has heard from other agents making similar claims.

“He's not the only agent to whom this has happened,” said Ms. Jackson-DeGarcia, a partner at Dilworth Paxson LLP. “We have been contacted by others and will pursue them separately.”

Given the differences in the books of business for the agents, as well as the unique attributes of each practice, Ms. Jackson-DeGarcia will likely pursue the other cases separately instead of making them into a class-action suit.

She added that a second related class-action suit is currently pending and that that complaint includes an age discrimination allegation and claims related to employee benefits.

Currently, Paul A. Mattus Agency & Sons Inc. is listed on Allstate's website as being up for sale.


Comments

jancanman wrote:
I believe it...Easier to give new broker orphans policyholder them have them develop book like Mr Mattus had to...Sad testament to our supposed entreprenurial industry
4/14/2011 4:49 PM EDT
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lucasd wrote:
Allstate is doing this all over the country. I know this for a fact. Many of the seasoned agents are being threatened with termination and leaving the company and when they go many of the clients are going with them. The management doesn't know what they are getting into here. This is just one lawsuit..... There will be many many more to follow.
4/14/2011 8:47 PM EDT
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DCarrLLC wrote:
Good luck to you Paul. I'm a former Allstate EA, sold last September. Condiser joining ALLBlueBlog where you'll find many like-minded people at www.allblueblog.com. It's a social network for Allstate EAs. This article is being discussed now.
4/15/2011 8:16 AM EDT
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:35 am

*This long-time Allstate employee was laid off after many years of faithful service. She found an opening in another office but Allstate refused to take her on. She obviously felt betrayed by her now disloyal employer and went after Allstate for anything and everything she could. Of coarse she lost but this is just a small example of Allstate's sense of 'integrity', 'fair play', 'public responsibility', 'caring', and 'good faith' to its employees and customers. RatPak11

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... google.com

Michaelson v. Law Offices of Marsha Munemura

Filed 10/14/08 Michaelson v. Law Offices of Marsha Munemura CA2/1

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT

DIVISION ONE
ELLEN M. MICHAELSON, B197814
Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

LAW OFFICES OF MARSHA MUNEMURA et al.,
Defendants and Respondents.


(Los Angeles County
Super. Ct. No. EC042033)


APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Laura Matz, Judge. Affirmed.

Law Offices of Nate G. Kraut and Nate G. Kraut for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Phillip J. Eskenazi, Michael C. Small and Azra Hot for Defendants and Respondents Law Offices of Marsha Munemura and Allstate Insurance Company.

Plaintiff Ellen Michaelson (Michaelson) sued her employer, defendant Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate), for breach of contract, gender and age discrimination, and discriminatory pay after she was terminated. The trial court granted summary judgment for Allstate. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

The following facts were undisputed by Michaelson:
Allstate employs staff attorneys across the country to litigate claims brought against its insureds.

In 1995, Allstate hired Michaelson as a staff attorney in its Glendale office. When Michaelson applied for the position, she signed an employment application that provided Allstate could terminate her with or without cause and with and without notice at any time. Some time after Allstate hired Michaelson, she received a policy guide that stated her employment with Allstate was terminable at the will of either party or with or without notice and with or without cause at any time subject only to such limitations as may be imposed by law.

From 1998 through 2003, Allstate evaluated its staff attorneys by placing them in one of three categories: requires improvement, meets expectations, and exceeds expectations. During these years, Michaelsons superiors placed her in the meets expectations category. In 2004, Allstate changed its evaluation system and placed attorneys in one of five categories: unacceptable, fair, successful, outstanding, and exceptional. In 2004, Michaelsons superiors placed her in the successful category.

In 2002, Allstate encountered a significant and steady decline in the number of claims and lawsuits filed against its insureds in California. In 2004, Allstate decided that it could no longer support some of the attorneys in its California offices and initiated a Voluntary Termination Offer (VTO), hoping it could reduce its attorney ranks without resorting to involuntary layoffs. After an insufficient number of employees accepted the VTO, which expired at the end of 2004, Allstate decided it would lay off a number of attorneys throughout the various California offices. Because Allstate did not want to lay off attorneys during the December holidays, it waited until early 2005 to implement the layoffs.

Once Allstate decided how many attorneys it could afford to keep in each office, Allstate based its layoff decisions on two factors: an attorneys overall performance rating on his or her 2004 evaluation and seniority, which Allstate defined as tenure of employment with Allstate. Of the 13 attorneys employed in the Glendale office, Allstate determined that it could retain nine attorneys and would lay off four attorneys. In 2004, four attorneys received an overall performance rating of outstanding, eight attorneys received a rating of successful, and one attorney received a rating of fair. Allstate laid off the one attorney who rated fair. Of the eight employees who rated successful, Allstate laid off the three attorneys with the shortest length of employment with Allstate, one of whom was Michaelson.

After Allstate terminated Michaelson, she (along with nine other attorneys) applied for a staff position in Allstates Las Vegas office. Allstate did not hire Michaelson for the position.

Michaelson sued Allstate and alleged: (1) breach of contract; (2) gender and age discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Gov. Code, 12900 et seq.); and (3) discriminatory pay.[1]

Allstate successfully moved for summary judgment. On the breach of contract claim, the trial court concluded that Allstate satisfied its burden of demonstrating Michaelson was an at-will employee, and even if she was not at-will, Allstates need to reduce its workforce constituted good cause for her termination. On the discrimination claims, the trial court concluded that Allstate satisfied its burden of showing legitimate business reasons for its decisions to terminate Michaelson from the Glendale office and not to re-hire her for the Las Vegas office, and for its differences in pay. The trial court further concluded that Michaelson did not raise triable issues of fact as to whether Allstates proffered reasons for its hiring and pay decisions were pretextual.

Michaelson timely appealed from the final judgment.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of review.

Under Californias traditional rules, we determine with respect to each cause of action whether the defendant seeking summary judgment has conclusively negated a necessary element of the plaintiffs case, or has demonstrated that under no hypothesis is there a material issue of fact that requires the process of trial, such that the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Guz v. Bechtel Nat. Inc. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 317, 334 (Guz).) [O]nce a moving defendant has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action, even if not separately pleaded, cannot be established, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show the existence of a triable issue; to meet that burden, the plaintiff may not rely upon the mere allegations or denials of its pleadings . . . but, instead, shall set forth the specific facts showing that a triable issue of material fact exists as to that cause of action . . . . (Code Civ. Proc., 437c, subd. (o)(2); see Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 854-855.) (Merrill v. Navegar, Inc. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 465, 476-477.)

We review the trial courts ruling de novo, liberally construe the evidence and all reasonable inferences from the evidence in favor of the opposing party, and resolve all doubts concerning the evidence in favor of the opposing party. (Miller v. Department of Corrections (2005) 36 Cal.4th 446, 460.) Only when the inferences are indisputable may the court decide the issues as a matter of law. If the evidence is in conflict, the factual issues must be resolved by trial. Any doubts about the propriety of summary judgment . . . are generally resolved against granting the motion, because that allows the future development of the case and avoids errors. [Citation.] (Binder v. Aetna Life Ins. Co. (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 832, 839.)


B. Overview.
Michaelson makes several arguments in support of reversal, some of which overlap her breach of contract and discrimination claims. We provide a brief overview of her arguments and our conclusions in this section.

1. Breach of implied contract: Michaelson argues that certain statements by Allstates representatives modified her at-will status and created an implied-in-fact contract wherein Allstate could terminate her only for good cause. We conclude that the statements are insufficient to rebut the legal presumption that she was an at-will employee. We further conclude that even if the statements created an implied-in-fact contract, good cause existed for Michaelsons termination because Allstate had a legitimate business need to reduce its workforce, which Michaelson does not dispute.

2. Breach of express contract: Michaelson argues that the parties entered into an express employment contract for a term of 20 years when one of Allstates managing attorneys told Michaelson she could have a job [at Allstate] for the next 20 years. Michaelson did not raise this argument below and we need not address it on appeal.

3. Wrongful termination based on discrimination: Michaelson argues that even though Allstate had a legitimate business need to lay off attorneys, Allstate used this opportunity to engage in gender and age discrimination by getting rid of older female attorneys (such as herself) in favor of younger male attorneys with inferior qualifications and less seniority. We conclude Allstate satisfied its initial burden on summary judgment with evidence that it followed its policy of retaining attorneys with the highest qualifications and most seniority, and that Michaelson has failed to raise a triable issue of material fact as to whether Allstate engaged in gender or age discrimination.

4. Refusal to re-hire based on discrimination: Michaelson argues that Allstate refused to re-hire her for the Las Vegas office for discriminatory reasons. We conclude that Allstate satisfied its initial burden on summary judgment with evidence that it refused to re-hire Michaelson for a legitimate reason, and that Michaelson has failed to raise a triable issue of material fact as to whether Allstate engaged in gender or age discrimination.

5. Discriminatory pay: Michaelson argues that Allstate engaged in discriminatory pay by paying higher salaries to male attorneys. We conclude that Allstate satisfied its initial burden on summary judgment with undisputed evidence that it based its salary decision on performance evaluations and seniority, and that Michaelson has failed to raise a triable issue of material fact as to whether Allstate engaged in discriminatory pay.

C. Breach of contract.

Labor Code section 2922 provides: An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. (See also Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 335 [[a]n at-will employment may be ended by either party at any time without cause, for any or no reason, and subject to no procedure except the statutory requirement of notice].) While Labor Code section 2922 creates a strong presumption of at-will employment, it does not overcome the parties fundamental . . . freedom of contract to depart from at-will employment. (Guz, supra, at pp. 335-336.) One example of a contractual departure from at-will status is an agreement that the employee will be terminated only for good cause. . . . (Id. at p. 336.)

The understanding that an employer can only terminate an employee for good cause need not be express, but may be implied in fact, arising from the parties conduct evidencing their actual mutual intent to create such enforceable limitations. (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 336.) Courts employ several factors to determine whether parties have agreed that an employee is not at-will, such as the personnel policies or practices of the employer, the employees longevity of service, actions or communications by the employer reflecting assurances of continued employment, and the practices of the industry in which the employee is engaged. (Id. at pp. 336-337.)

Where there is no express agreement, the issue is whether other evidence of the parties conduct has a tendency in reason (Evid. Code, 210) to demonstrate the existence of an actual mutual understanding on particular terms and conditions of employment. (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 337.) If such evidence logically permits conflicting inferences, a question of fact is presented. (Ibid.) But where the undisputed facts negate the existence or the breach of the contract claimed, summary judgment is proper. (Ibid.)

In support of summary judgment, Allstate put forth the following evidence: (1) language from an employment application signed by Michaelson, which provided that Allstate could terminate her with or without cause and with and without notice at any time; (2) language from a policy guide issued to Allstate employees including Michaelson, which provided that employment with Allstate is terminable at the will of either party or with or without notice and with or without cause at any time subject only to such limitations as may be imposed by law. According to Allstate, this evidence, coupled with the legal presumption of at-will employment under Labor Code section 2922, satisfied Allstates burden of showing that Michaelson was an at-will employee and that no implied-in-fact employment contract existed between the parties.

Michaelson does not dispute that she signed the application and received the policy guide. Rather, Michaelson argues that verbal statements made by Allstates representatives create a triable issue as to whether the parties created an implied-in-fact employment contract in which Allstate could terminate her only for good cause: (1) statements made in 1995 by Pat Stidman, the managing attorney of Allstates Glendale office, when she offered Michaelson the job, and (2) statements made in 1999 by William Cole, the managing attorney for all of Allstates Southern California offices.[2]We turn to the evidence proffered by Michaelson regarding these statements.

She cites passages contained at pages 15 and 16 from her deposition regarding what Stidman told her:

Q. Did you have an understanding strike that.

Did you believe that Allstate or you could terminate the employment for any reason?

A. I believed Allstate could only terminate it for cause.

Q. Why did you believe that?

A. Because I was told if I did my job in a manner in which it was accepted, I would be employed for Allstate as long as I would like to be employed by Allstate. [Italics added.]

Q. Even if Allstate had economic conditions that impacted the companys ability to hire a certain number of people?

A. I was told at the time I was hired that that never happened and they didnt anticipate it happening. [Italics added.]

Q. And who made these oral representations to you when you were hired?

A. Pat Stidman.

. . ................

Q. Im sorry. What precisely did Ms. Stidman tell you that led you to believe that you could only be terminated for cause?

A. I dont recall precisely what she told me because it was more than 10 years ago, but she made me an offer. She told me what the salary would be. She said I would be getting a company car, and I know that when I spoke to her in person, I was told that attorneys were not laid off. They didnt expect it I also know that I replaced an attorney. There were two attorneys who were replaced around the time I was hired, but they were terminated for cause. [Italics added.]

The statement attributed to Cole is contained within an answer given by Michaelson at her deposition where she was asked about her relationship with Marsha Munemura, Michaelsons lead counsel at the firm:

Q. Looking back on your employment with Allstate, did you respect Marsha as a team leader?

A. Actually, yes. I would go to her for advice, and she had some very good advice on files. And there were a few times I didnt discuss a lot of personal stuff with her, but there were a few times we did. We talked about our kids. It also says that Bill Cole said I could have a job there for the next 20 years. [Italics added.]

Q. Do you recall that?

A. No, I dont, but I wouldnt have written it down if he didnt say it.[3]

Assuming these statements were made, as we must on appeal from a grant of summary judgment, Stidmans statement to Michaelson that she would continue to be employed by Allstate as long as she did her job in an acceptable manner was qualified by Stidmans statement that Allstate had not previously laid off any attorneys and that no lay offs were expected in the future. The qualification implies that if business conditions changed in the future, Allstate reserved the right to address the situation no matter how well Michaelson performed.

Coles statement to Michaelson was made before Allstate decided that layoffs were necessary in California because of a steady and significant decline in the number of claims and lawsuits filed against its insureds.

We conclude that these statements, taken together and in connection with the employment application, the policy guide, and the presumption of at-will employment, are insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether an implied-in-fact contract existed wherein Allstate could terminate Michaelson only for good cause. We agree with Allstate that these statements were merely optimistic expressions of contemporaneous hope and expectation that Michaelson would enjoy a lengthy tenure at the company if she so desired.[4]

Even if the statements were sufficient to modify Michaelsons at-will status, they created only a conditional promise not to terminate Michaelson if she continued to perform her job in an acceptable manner and if Allstate continued its history of not laying off attorneys. It is undisputed by Michaelson, however, that layoffs became necessary when the workload began to drop off in 2002. We quote from the pertinent statements of fact by Allstate and Michaelsons responses (in italics):

6. Beginning in 2002, Allstate began experiencing a decline in the number of litigated claims handled by its staff counsel offices in California. Undisputed.

7. In 2004, Allstate saw a decline of 39% in new cases filed against its insureds in California. Undisputed.

8. Allstate determined in late 2004 that it needed to layoff attorneys in each of its California offices. Undisputed.

9. Allstate determined the number of attorneys it needed in each of the California staff counsel offices, based on the workload in each office. Undisputed.

. . . .

16. Thirteen attorneys, including Plaintiff, worked in Allstates Glendale staff counsel office prior to the reduction in force. Undisputed.

17. Allstate determined that the case load in its Glendale staff counsel office could only justify keeping nine attorneys after the 2005 reduction in force. Undisputed.

Thus, even if we had concluded the statements were sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether Michaelson could be terminated only for good cause, Allstate established an undisputed legitimate business reason for the termination that satisfied the good cause requirement.

D. Wrongful termination based on discriminatory motives.

Allstate presented evidence that it terminated Michaelson based on her overall performance ranking and seniority with Allstate. Allstate also put forth evidence that of the four people Allstate terminated in the Glendale office (including Michaelson), two were women and two were men, and two were younger than Michaelson.[5] Allstate also put forth evidence that of the nine attorneys Allstate retained, it retained four women overall, three of which were older than Michaelson.

This evidence satisfied Allstates initial burden of demonstrating that Allstate did not terminate Michaelson based on gender or age discrimination.

Although Michaelson does not dispute that Allstate had a legitimate need to reduce its workforce in California, and that she had a lower performance ranking or less seniority than the attorneys retained in her office, she contends summary judgment was improper on both her breach of contract claim and her discrimination claim under FEHA because a triable issue of fact exists as to whether Allstate implemented its workforce reduction in a fair and honest manner and in good faith.[6] According to Michaelson, Allstate fabricated a policy of retention based on performance and seniority as a pretext for laying off attorneys based on age and gender discrimination.

In support of her contention, Michaelson points to: (1) Allstates decision to use evaluations from 2004, not 2003; (2) Allstates retention of two male attorneys who purportedly had inferior qualifications and less seniority; and (3) her reduced workload in the second half of 2004.

Use of 2004 evaluations: Michaelson argues that Allstates use of the 2004 evaluations instead of the 2003 evaluations (which were already final and not subject to manipulation) demonstrates Allstate rigged the layoff decisions. There is nothing in the record to support this claim. The undisputed evidence is that Allstate made its decision to initiate layoffs in 2004 and sought to implement them through a Voluntary Termination Offer. It was only toward the end of 2004 that Allstate was forced to initiate involuntary layoffs when insufficient personnel accepted the VTO. Because Allstate did not want to lay off attorneys during the December holidays, it waited until early 2005 to implement them. By that time the 2004 evaluations were complete and Allstate decided to use them because they were the most recent. While it is true that the 2004 evaluations had two additional performance categories and required home office approval, neither raises the inference that the evaluations were rigged in any way. Furthermore, both men and women, and individuals older and younger than Michaelson were laid off and retained, thus negating the inference that Allstate used the 2004 evaluations to target women or the elderly.

Retention of male attorneys: Michaelson contends that Allstate should not have retained attorney Robert Pfenning over her because they had equal overall rankings and Pfenning had less seniority.

It is true that Pfenning had less years of legal experience than Michaelson, but it is undisputed that at the time Allstate made its decision, Pfenning had worked for Allstate for a total of 18 years while Michaelson had worked at Allstate for only 10 years. Pfennings retention was consistent with Allstates guideline that as between two attorneys with equal overall rankings, it would retain the attorney with a longer length of employment with Allstate. (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 355 [once an employer meets its burden by showing that it had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for discharging the employee, the burden shifts back to the employee to demonstrate that the reasons for her discharge are a pretext by presenting evidence of implausibility, inconsistency, or contradiction in an employers proffered reason for termination, or with direct evidence of a discriminatory motive].)

Michaelson further claims that Steven Levine, a younger male attorney, was given a higher overall ranking, even though the individual rankings given to [Levine] warranted an overall ranking equal to or lower than the one Michaelson received.

As a threshold matter, it is not the jurys role, and it is certainly not our role, to question the accuracy of the evaluations provided by Michaelson and Levines superiors. (Pugh v. Sees Candies, Inc. (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 743, 769 [[i]n any free enterprise system, an employer must have wide latitude in making independent, good-faith judgments about high-ranking employees without the threat of a jury second-guessing its business judgment . . . . Although the jury must assess the legitimacy of the employers decision to discharge, it should not be thrust into a managerial role].)

Further, the record simply does not support Michaelsons claim. The undisputed evidence shows that out of 16 equally weighted individual categories in the 2004 evaluations, Levine outperformed Michaelson in five categories, whereas Michaelson outperformed Levine in only one category. Thus, contrary to Michaelsons claim, Levine deserved a higher overall rating, and not an equal or lower overall rating.

Michaelson also refers to testimony provided by Cole, the managing attorney of Allstates Southern California offices, wherein Cole stated that he would personally try to keep Levine from getting laid off:

Q. All right. Tell me what you told the staff.

A. I told them that we were going to have my best recollection, we were going to have a reduction in force and that I feel that were going to my idea, of course, is that well see if we can save as many jobs as we can.

But obviously, that was my me personally speaking, to try to save as many jobs. And, in fact, I think I said, you know, Steve Levine is handling some legal things and I may try to get him out of the mix.

And I did say that and I said save a job in the SCO. I wasnt trying to protect Steve Levine as much, as trying to save a job.

That was my personal comments. Obviously, everybody was upset and so forth and as a leader, I thought I would tell them that Ill do my best, but my best is my best.

And everybody seemed to understand that and basically that is what I remember about the meeting.

While this does indicate Cole may have tried to save Levine from losing his job, given the undisputed facts, it does not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether Coles intention was improper or discriminatory. The evidence, which Michaelson did not dispute, demonstrates that Levine was within the group of four attorneys retained by Allstate who fell within the Outstanding rating while she was released from the group rated Successful because of a lack of seniority. We again quote from the pertinent statement of facts by Allstate and Michaelsons responses (in italics).

16. Thirteen attorneys, including Plaintiff, worked in Allstates Glendale staff counsel office prior to the reduction in force. Undisputed.

17. Allstate determined that the case load in its Glendale staff counsel office could only justify keeping nine attorneys after the 2005 reduction in force. Undisputed.

18. The 2004 attorney performance evaluations that Allstate used for the reduction in force in 2005, had five rating categories: Unacceptable, Fair, Successful, Outstanding and Exceptional. Undisputed.

19. Of the attorneys in Allstates Glendale staff counsel office, on their final 2004 performance evaluations, no one had the highest overall rating Exceptional, four attorneys received an overall rating of Outstanding, the second highest rating; eight attorneys received the middle overall rating, Successful; one attorney received an overall rating of :Fair [sic] which is one below the middle rating; and no one received the lowest overall rating. Undisputed.

20. The four attorneys in Allstates Glendale staff counsel office with the 2004 overall performance rating of Outstanding were all retained after the 2005 reduction in force. Undisputed.

21. Of the eight attorneys in Allstates Glendale staff counsel office who had an overall rating of Successful on their 2004 performance evaluations, the five with the most seniority with Allstate were retained. Undisputed.

22. Plaintiff had less seniority with Allstate than five other attorneys who also received an overall performance rating of Successful for 2004. Undisputed.

Case Load: Referencing statistics which were apparently produced in 2006 but account for the case load assigned to various counsel in 2004, Michaelson argues that Allstate began to reduce her case load the last six months of 2004, which demonstrates that it had decided to terminate her before the final list was drawn up. Also in the record are statistics from the year 2003. In 2003, Michaelson received 71 cases. In 2004, she received a total of 25 cases, 18 the first six months and 7 the last six months. Her distribution was as follows: January-3 cases, February-5 cases, March-4 cases, April-2 cases, May-1 case, June-3 cases, July-1 case, August-2 cases, September-2 cases, October-2 cases and no cases for November and December. Similar statistics exist for the other personnel laid off.

It is difficult to place this evidence within the context of discrimination or unfairness given the undisputed fact that by 2004 Allstate was required to reduce its workforce due to a declining case load. Total cases distributed in 2003 to all counsel were 2,007 while total cases distributed in 2004 were 1,272, which supports the decision to lay off personnel. All staff counsel, whether retained or laid off, received lighter case loads in 2004 than in 2003. Moreover, two men, both older and younger than Michaelson, also received reduced case loads in the latter half of 2004 and were laid off in 2005. Although the reduced workloads raise the inference that Allstate may have unevenly reduced the workloads of some attorneys, they do not raise the inference that Allstate targeted certain attorneys based on gender and/or age and reduced their workloads accordingly.

Considered as a whole, the foregoing evidence relating to use of the 2004 evaluations, the retention of Pfenning and Levine, and the case load statistics is insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether Allstate implemented its workforce reduction in a bad faith and discriminatory manner.

E. Gender and age discrimination.
Michaelson claims that Allstates decision not to re-hire her in its Las Vegas office was based on gender and age discrimination.

To establish a prima facie case of discrimination in violation of FEHA, the employee must show that (1) she was a member of a protected class; (2) she was qualified for the position she held and was performing competently; (3) she suffered an adverse employment action, such as a termination or demotion; and (4) her protected status was a motivating factor for the adverse action. (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 355.) An employer seeking summary judgment in a discrimination case meets its burden by showing that plaintiff lacks one or more of these prima facie elements, or that it had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for discharging the plaintiff.

Following such showing by the employer, the burden shifts back to the employee to demonstrate that the reasons for her discharge are a pretext and that the employer acted with a discriminatory motive. (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at pp. 355-356.) Pretext may be inferred from the timing of the discharge decision, the identity of the decision maker, or by the discharged employees job performance before termination. (Hanson v. Lucky Stores, Inc. (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 215, 224.) An employee may raise a triable issue of fact regarding pretext by presenting evidence of implausibility, inconsistency, or contradiction in an employers proffered reason for termination, or with direct evidence of a discriminatory motive. (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at pp. 362-364.) To raise a triable issue of fact, however, the employees evidence must do more than present a weak suspicion that discrimination was a likely basis for the termination. (Id. at p. 369.) [T]he great weight of federal and California authority holds that an employer is entitled to summary judgment if, considering the employers innocent explanation for its actions, the evidence as a whole is insufficient to permit a rational inference that the employers action motive was discriminatory. (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 361.)

After Allstate terminated Michaelson from the Glendale office, she, along with nine other attorneys, applied for a staff counsel position with the Las Vegas office. Allstate put forth evidence that it based its primary hiring criterion for the Las Vegas position on an attorneys ability to work with the claims office. Specifically, Steve Crittendon, the managing attorney who interviewed Michaelson for the position, averred that because there were relationship issues between the Las Vegas claims office and staff counsel in the past, it was important for Allstate to hire an attorney who could get along well with the claims office. According to Crittendon, Michaelson did not give [him] the impression that she excelled in this regard. He hired another female attorney to fulfill the position instead. This evidence satisfied Allstates burden of demonstrating that it based its hiring decision on a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason.

Michaelson, however, contends that Crittendon discriminated against her and refers to her declaration in which she avers: Throughout my conversation with Mr. Crittendon his tone and verbal attitude gave me the impression he was not seriously interested in hiring anyone affected by the reduction in force and was only talking to me because he had been told to do so. Assuming Michaelsons impression of Crittendons tone and attitude was accurate, this evidence only shows that Allstate did not want to hire anyone it had just laid off, and not that it did not want to hire women or the elderly. Fair or not, Allstates actions were not discriminatory.

F. Discriminatory pay.

Labor Code section 1197.5 provides: No employer shall pay any individual in the employers employ at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where the payment is made pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a differential based on any bona fide factor other than sex. [S]uperior experience, education, and ability may justify pay disparities if distinctions based on these criteria are not gender based. [Citation.] (Green v. Par Pools Inc. (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 620, 630.)

Allstate put forth evidence that when attorneys are initially hired, their salaries are set according to a variety of factors, such as cost of living, the specific position offered, and an attorneys past experience, including experience in the insurance industry, education, and length of legal practice. Allstate adjusts attorneys salaries throughout their tenure with Allstate based on the attorneys performance ratings each year. According to a declaration by Allstates Human Resources Staff Manager, an attorney with a higher performance rating will get a larger raise than an attorney with a lower rating. This evidence satisfied Allstates initial burden of showing it does not set salaries according to discriminatory factors.

Michaelson argues she has raised a triable issue on discriminatory pay based on evidence that three male attorneys (Steven Levine, Robert Edgerton, and Kent Burton), with purportedly less experience and less qualifications, received a higher salary.

Steven Levine and Robert Edgerton: Michaelson urges us to infer discrimination based on evidence that two male attorneys, Steven Levine and Robert Edgerton, received higher salaries than her even though they occupied the same position within the Glendale office. Both Levine and Edgerton, however, received higher performance evaluations than Michaelson. Thus, Allstate was entitled to pay them a higher salary based on its policy that it could adjust salaries upward based on performance. Moreover, other than Michaelsons own suspicions, she can point to no evidence to show that Levine and Edgerton were less qualified than her.

Kent Burton: Michaelson also urges us to infer discrimination based on evidence that Kent Burton, a male attorney in another office, received a $10,000 higher salary than Michaelson. Burton, however, earned his state bar license in 1978, and Michaelson earned her license in 1983. Thus, Burton had five more years of legal experience than Michaelson, and Allstate was entitled to pay Burton a higher salary based on its policy of paying attorneys with more legal experience higher salaries. Finally, Michaelson points to a conflict between Allstates stated policy of permitting attorneys to negotiate their salaries at the time they are hired and the fact that neither she nor Kent Burton had the right to negotiate their salaries upon hiring. But this conflict is immaterial. At most it shows that Allstate denied both men and women the opportunity to negotiate their salaries when initially hired. It does not raise the inference that Allstate engaged in discriminatory pay. (Columbus Line, Inc. v. Gray Line Sight-Seeing Companies Associated, Inc. (1981) 120 Cal.App.3d 622, 633 [the existence of factual conflict will not defeat a motion for summary judgment unless the fact in dispute is a material one].)

In sum, because Michaelson has failed to raise a triable issue of material fact on her claims for gender and age discrimination, and discriminatory pay, Allstate is entitled to summary adjudication on these claims.

DISPOSITION

The judgment is affirmed. Costs are awarded to respondents.
-
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED.
-
HASTINGS, J.*
-
We concur:
MALLANO, P. J.
ROTHSCHILD, J.


APPENDIX
Name Gender Age Years of Service

Wayne W. Male 61- 33

Isolde G. Female 63- 16

Robert E. Male 47- 9

Steven Levine Male 49- 7

Robert Pfenning Male 45- 18

Shaghig D. Female 45 - 15

Kathryn D. Female 60- 12

John P. Male 53- 12

Cheryl L. Female 60 - 11

Ellen Michaelson * Female 54- 9

David K. * Male 59- 9

Nair A. * Female 44- 4

Steven B. * Male 51- 4

* Individuals in the Glendale office terminated as a result of Allstates reduction in workforce.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] In addition to Allstate, Michaelson sued three of her supervisors in their individual capacities. The trial court granted summary judgment in their favor on the grounds that Michaelson failed to establish they were parties to the alleged employment contract and they were personally responsible for the alleged discriminatory conduct. Michaelson does not challenge this ruling on appeal.

[2] The record does not indicate when Cole purportedly made this statement. The parties agree that if this statement was made, it happened in October 1999.

[3] In this deposition, Michaelson is apparently referring to a document that is not in the record.

[4] For the first time on appeal Michaelson argues that Coles statement constituted an express employment contract for a specified term of 20 years, an argument which was not addressed in the trial court and which we need not address on appeal. (North Coast Business Park v. Nielsen Construction Co. (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 22, 29.) Moreover, the statement is much too vague to support a jury finding consistent with the claim. (Halvorsen v. Aramark Uniform Services, Inc. (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1383, 1389 [oral contract with vague and uncertain terms is not binding].)

[5] As an appendix to this decision, we have included a chart reflecting the gender and age of the attorneys retained and terminated in the Glendale office.

[6] In connection with her breach of contract argument, Michaelson cites Malmstrom v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 299. Although that case did involve a reduction in force, the plaintiff had alleged a separate cause of action based on the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing arising from an implied contract not to terminate unless for cause. (Id. at pp. 306-307.) Michaelson has no such claim alleged here. But she has alleged that Allstate did set up certain criteria to use in connection with the workforce reduction and it did not follow these criteria for discriminatory reasons. We agree that if she can raise a triable issue of fact on this point, then summary judgment was improper.

*Retired Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to article VI, section 6 of the California Constitution.
Last edited by RatPak11 on Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:49 pm

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... google.com

Case Law Full Display

2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 16944,*;146 Fed. Appx. 764;
2005 FED App. 0697N (6th Cir.)

DANIEL KELLER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 04-5547

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

146 Fed. Appx. 764; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 16944; 2005 FED App. 0697N (6th Cir.)



August 11, 2005, Filed

NOTICE:

[*1] NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION. SIXTH CIRCUIT RULE 28(g) LIMITS CITATION TO SPECIFIC SITUATIONS. PLEASE SEE RULE 28(g) BEFORE CITING IN A PROCEEDING IN A COURT IN THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. IF CITED, A COPY MUST BE SERVED ON OTHER PARTIES AND THE COURT. THIS NOTICE IS TO BE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED IF THIS DECISION IS REPRODUCED.


PRIOR HISTORY:

ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY.


COUNSEL: For DANIEL KELLER, Plaintiff - Appellant: Glenn A. Cohen, Paul J. Hershberg, Seiller & Handmaker, Louisville, KY.

For ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant - Appellee: Rachel S. Zahniser, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, Cincinnati, OH.; Robert B. Craig, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, Covington, KY.

JUDGES: Before: DAUGHTREY and COOK, Circuit Judges; HOOD, District Judge.*
*

The Honorable Joseph M. Hood, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, sitting by designation.

OPINION BY: COOK

OPINION

COOK, Circuit Judge. Daniel Keller appeals the district court's order granting summary judgment for Allstate Insurance Company on his claim that Allstate constructively discharged him for unlawful reasons. Because we find no error by the district court in [*2] determining that Keller failed to raise a material factual dispute warranting trial on his employment claims against Allstate, we affirm.

I

For years, Keller worked as an adjustor for Allstate in the Special Investigative Unit ("SIU"), investigating fraudulent or suspicious claims. He eventually resigned--a resignation Keller labels a constructive discharge--as a culmination of what he viewed as multiple consecutive, unjustified, negative job-performance evaluations. Allstate maintains that Keller's evaluations worsened because he failed to comply with Allstate's newly implemented computer documentation requirements. Keller, on the other hand, fixes the blame on Allstate's displeasure with his refusal to follow his manager's directive to unlawfully discriminate against Vietnamese insurance claimants in violation of the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practice Act. This justified resistance, Keller says, caused his poor performance reviews, including a "job in jeopardy" notification, leading him to resign.

The district court granted Allstate's motion for summary judgment, holding Keller's voluntary resignation did not constitute constructive discharge. And given its conclusion [*3] that Keller had not been discharged at all, the court went on to hold that Keller's wrongful-discharge claim failed. Keller filed this timely appeal from the district court's judgment.

II

Unless Keller's summary judgment evidence presented a factual basis for a jury to find "[Allstate] . . . deliberately create[d] intolerable working conditions, as perceived by a reasonable person, with the intention of forcing [Keller] to quit[,]" summary judgment was properly entered here. Moore v. KUKA Welding Sys. & Robot Corp., 171 F.3d 1073, 1080 (6th Cir. 1999).

III

In determining whether working conditions are "so difficult or unpleasant that a reasonable person in the employee's shoes would have felt compelled to resign," Yates v. Avco Corp., 819 F.2d 630, 636-37 (6th Cir. 1987), this court considers whether an employee experienced:

(1) demotion; (2) reduction in salary; (3) reduction in job responsibilities; (4) reassignment to menial or degrading work; (5) reassignment to work under a [younger] supervisor; (6) badgering, harassment, or humiliation by the employer calculated to encourage the employee's resignation; or (7) offers of early [*4] retirement or continued employment on terms less favorable than the employee's former status.Logan v. Denny's, Inc., 259 F.3d 558, 569 (6th Cir. 2001).

Considering the Logan factors, Keller's evidence taken in its most favorable light failed to present a working situation that would compel a reasonable person to resign. Keller does not claim Allstate demoted him, reduced his salary, reassigned him, or offered him early retirement or continued employment on less favorable terms. Rather, Keller alleges Allstate restricted his authority, issued his "job in jeopardy" notification in a way that embarrassed him, and unfairly evaluated his performance as poor. These allegations fall short of a constructive-discharge showing. See Agnew v. BASF Corp., 286 F.3d 307, 309-10 (6th Cir. 2002).

Changes in employee responsibilities or authority, triggered by the company reorganization, without more, do not amount to intolerable conditions constituting constructive discharge. See Curtis v. Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc., 101 Fed. Appx. 61, 64-66 (6th Cir. 2004) (finding no adverse employment action where the company reduced its [*5] employees' responsibilities as part of an office reorganization). Issuing Keller's "job in jeopardy" notification in a setting where co-workers could see his humiliation was not so objectively severe and intolerable that a reasonable person would feel compelled to resign. The record, in fact, shows Keller sought alternative employment with the Kentucky Farm Bureau a month before he received the "job in jeopardy" notification.

Though Keller argues that his Allstate supervisors gave him unfairly negative performance reviews, as the district court noted, "criticism in performance reviews and institution of performance improvement plans, alone, do not constitute objectively intolerable conditions." Agnew, 286 F.3d at 310. Moreover, "dissatisfaction with work assignments, a feeling of being unfairly criticized, or difficult or unpleasant working conditions are not so intolerable as to compel a reasonable person to resign." Smith v. Henderson, 376 F.3d 529, 534 (6th Cir. 2004) (quoting Carter v. Ball, 33 F.3d 450, 459 (4th Cir. 1994)). Keller's resignation was voluntary and premature; he failed to offer evidence of objectively intolerable [*6] working conditions qualifying his resignation for treatment as a constructive discharge.

Without a showing of circumstances supporting a factual issue regarding Keller's claim of constructive discharge, no discharge exists to support Keller's wrongful-discharge claim, and it too fails.

IV

We affirm, because District Judge Thomas Russell properly granted summary judgment.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:13 pm

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... google.com

A Look Inside the “Allstate Opportunity”
From someone in Clear Lake, TX on 11/29/07:

Allstate hired me and other agents to open offices for them which would be our own business. First they checked our finances to make sure we could be in a position to operate a business and with good reason.

No one ever makes money doing this and they want to make sure you can use your assets to stay in business for a year or better, getting them customers through family, friends, massive expensive advertising in Yellow Pages, which Allstate keeps when you quit!

You ‘really’ do not own the business. In my case, my old mom had died leaving me some money and I was a perfect ‘mark’ for them as were other agents recruited who had retirements from other jobs, spouses who made a lot of money, etc.

I opened an office in the suburbs which was a hot new growth area of new affluent homes and actually sold a lot of insurance at first and was the only rookie to win a sales contest ‘Where Eagles Dare’ in their first year. My manager assured me I was on my way. What this did was created a ‘feeding frenzy’ and they started opening offices all around me,something they said they would not do.

Allstate is the worst case of office politics I have ever seen! They have a double standard for older/pet agents and those who have important family members working there. An old long time agent moved a mile down the street from my office, something they said would not happen. Another office opened up on the other end of the street with 3 agents (company policy is a maximum of 2 per office) just because they had important family working for the company and could break all the rules.Needless to say, they took a lot of customers who were on their way to my office and scarfed them up.

The last straw was they made it so tough for new customers to get insurance they started checking credit, zip codes (no one from the hood they told us) and using insider insurance sites such as CLUE/EQUIFAX to get all kinds of dirt on people, so as not to insure them.

I could not put insurance on anyone anymore and my office expenses/overhead outran my income.

No new hires/agents who started with Allstate in this Neighborhood Office Agent/Exclusive Agent Program made it, including me.

Do your self a favor and stay away from this ‘opportunity’.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:18 pm

http://ihateallstate.wordpress.com/2011 ... /#comments

Agent Forced Out After 30 Years

My last day as an allstate agent is (better not say the exact date). Anyway, after 30 years they have decided that I am not quite what they want. Also, I was informed by a very reputable source that 4 other agents with as much or more time, and I mean some heavy hitters of years past just got their 180 day warning letters.

Bet you 5 bucks the next thing you see in Kentucky is a service center (Canadian Style) open up. Amazing, just amazing that a corporation is allowed to steal the livelyhoods of those that helped build this company. Don’t know why I am surprised, heck I sat there and watched them fire us 11 years ago.

Just sat there.

Still believing that the Lone Ranger would come riding in. Fairy tales are just that. Fairy tales. Shame on me for believing. I wish all those that I leave behind the luck of the world. You will surely need help stopping this Titanic from sinking. I am afraid the gash in the side of this ship is too great to fix. I wish you all good fortune and peace.
Signed,

Disolusioned, but not really surprised. Also ashamed that I let this happen.



Comments:
bigmike said, on May 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm I agree with you completely it would be one thing if we where employees, but when we have to go out and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy these nightmares. They have to much control to call us independant contractors.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:22 pm

http://www.napaausa.org/news.asp?id=723

New Jersey Agent sues Allstate for violating New Jersey franchise laws
New Jersey Agent sues Allstate for violating New Jersey franchise laws, terminating his Agent Agreement without “good cause”

For Immediate Release

July 6, 2011, Gulfport, MS

CONTACT: Jim Fish, ExecutiveDirector@napaausa.org

Mario DeLuca has spent his entire working life building his Allstate business. But then after 42 years representing the company, Allstate abruptly notified DeLuca that it was terminating his agency agreement without cause.

On Tuesday, DeLuca’s attorney, W. Michael Garner of Minneapolis, MN, filed suit against Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company in the Superior Court of New Jersey alleging the company has violated the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act (“NJFPA”). DeLuca maintains that his agreement with Allstate constitutes a franchise relationship under New Jersey law.

Mario DeLuca is a resident of Westwood, New Jersey. He has earned a plethora of company awards over the years, placing him among the elite producers in both state and national rankings. Among other awards and recognition, he has earned the prestigious Conference of Champions award 27 times, Honor Ring 33 times, Quality Agent 30 times and the Financial Leader award 15 times. DeLuca is also well-liked by his customers who renew their policies 92% of the time, easily besting the national average.

DeLuca has asked the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop the company from confiscating the business he has worked 42 years to build. According to the complaint, the company failed to demonstrate “good cause” for the termination under the NJFPA. In addition, the complaint cites that the conduct of the company violates the covenants of good faith and fair dealing and that the commission structure in New Jersey requires agents to perform additional work in order to obtain the same level of compensation as Allstate agents in the rest of the country.

“DeLuca’s case is only the tip of the iceberg,” noted Jim Fish, executive director of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents, an independent group representing Allstate agents. “Several other long-term agents in New Jersey have received warning or termination letters as well. It is our hope that Mr. DeLuca’s case is successful and will set a precedent for other agents in New Jersey.”

About National Association of Professional Allstate Agents (NAPAA)
Based in Gulfport, Mississippi, NAPAA is a non-profit organization whose members are predominantly insurance agents under contract with Allstate. In addition to offering a variety of benefits and services, NAPAA further serves its members by acting on their behalf and speaking with a distinct and unfettered voice on a wide range of issues. To contact NAPAA, please visit its Website at http://www.napaausa.org or call (877) 269-3474
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:48 pm

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/deluca ... 2011-08-30
press release

Aug. 30, 2011, 12:00 p.m. EDT

DeLuca Wins First Round in Legal Skirmish With Allstate

GULFPORT, Miss., Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Mario DeLuca, a 42-year Allstate agent, has won round one of his wrongful termination case against Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company. On Thursday, August 25, a federal judge granted DeLuca's request and remanded the case to the Superior Court of New Jersey.

DeLuca originally filed the case in state court, but Allstate removed it to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, insisting that its principal place of business is in the State of Illinois. In seeking to have the case transferred back to the state court, DeLuca's attorney, Michael Garner, argued that New Jersey, not Illinois, is the company's principal place of business. Ruling in DeLuca's favor, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini wrote, "Based on the facts presented, Defendant [Allstate] has failed to persuade this Court that New Jersey is not its principal place of business." The court observed that Allstate New Jersey had been established as a separate and distinct company to deal with New Jersey's unique insurance scheme and that its president worked out of its headquarters in New Jersey.

"This decision is a positive sign for Mario," said Jim Fish, executive director of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents (NAPAA). "State courts tend to be more sympathetic in cases affecting their local citizenry."

NAPAA helped to establish a legal fund so individuals could offer contributions to help DeLuca pay for the litigation. According to Fish, "This is an important case for the agents of New Jersey. Many have been threatened and more than a dozen have received notice that their contracts will be terminated."

Last week, the NAPAA Board of Directors voted unanimously to affiliate with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) as of September 1. "We see OPEIU as a strong partner that can leverage its formidable strengths to help prevent the sort of problems Mr. DeLuca and thousands of other agents experience daily in their relationships with Allstate," said Fish.

ABOUT NAPAA

Based in Gulfport, Mississippi, NAPAA is a non-profit organization whose members are predominantly insurance agents under contract with Allstate. In addition to offering a variety of benefits and services, NAPAA further serves its members by acting on their behalf and speaking with a distinct and unfettered voice on a wide range of issues. To contact NAPAA, please visit its Website at http://www.napaausa.org or call (877) 269-3474.

ABOUT OPEIU

The Office and Professional Employees International Union represents more than 125,000 employees and independent contractors in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada in banking, insurance, higher education, shipping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels, administrative offices and more.

Professional organizations and Guilds affiliated with OPEIU are a diverse group that includes physicians, pharmacists, chiropractors, appraisers, podiatrists, clinical social workers, hypnotists, teachers and helicopter pilots.

SOURCE Office and Professional Employees International Union, AFL-CIO (OPEIU)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=275180

Former Allstate NJ Employee Gets Early Win in Wrongful Termination Suit
August 31, 2011 | A.M. Best Company, Inc.

A former employee of Allstate New Jersey Co. scored a procedural victory in his wrongful termination suit when the federal judge hearing the case ordered that it be moved to state court as opposed to proceeding in the federal system. Litigation experts said Judge William Martini's decision to remand the case to state court is a positive sign for the plaintiff because state courts tend to issue rulings that are more favorable to those who file lawsuits against large companies.

The plaintiff in the case, Mario DeLuca, had worked for Allstate New Jersey as an agent for more than 40 years when he received a letter that allegedly informed him his exclusive agent agreement would be terminated on Sept. 30. DeLuca fired back at the company with a lawsuit filed in New Jersey state court alleging Allstate New Jersey had violated the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by attempting to terminate his agreement without good cause.

According to court records, DeLuca is seeking an injunction that bars Allstate New Jersey from terminating the agreement without "good cause." DeLuca is also seeking actual and punitive damages, as well as attorneys' fees.

Despite DeLuca's effort to proceed in New Jersey state court, Allstate asked the judge hearing the case to move it to federal court because the company said its principle place of business is in Illinois, making the suit subject to federal laws governing interstate commerce. Allstate New Jersey argued it has a "nerve center" that operates in Illinois that is separate from the corporate headquarters.

But Martini, a U.S. district judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey determined it was "undisputed" that Allstate New Jersey is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Co., which is based in Northbrook, Ill. In fact, Allstate New Jersey's own website lists its "home office" as Bridgewater, N.J., Martini wrote.

"Allstate NJ does more than simply sell insurance policies in this state -- it also has a designated home office in Bridgewater, where its president and CEO reports to work along with approximately 100 or so employees," Martini wrote. "Based on the facts presented, [Allstate New Jersey] has failed to persuade this court that New Jersey is not its principal place of business. Rather, there are enough factors pointing to New Jersey as Allstate NJ's principal place of business for this court to find that [Allstate New Jersey] has failed to carry its burden."

Martini's decision was viewed as a win for DeLuca by Jim Fish, executive director of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents. "State courts tend to be more sympathetic in cases affecting their local citizenry," said Fish in a statement.

Efforts to reach an Allstate New Jersey spokesman for comment were unsuccessful. Allstate New Jersey Insurance Co. currently has a Best's Financial Strength
Rating of A- (Excellent).

(By Jeff Jeffrey, Washington Correspondent: jeff.jeffrey@ambest.com)
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:30 am

http://ifawebnews.com/2011/09/07/former ... state-n-j/

Former insurance agent wins procedural victory against Allstate N.J.
By Jaime L. Brockway
Posted: September 7, 2011

A federal judge ruled Aug. 25 that a lawsuit between a former insurance agent and his employer continue in state rather than federal court, a decision viewed as a victory for the agent.

Mario DeLuca, the plaintiff who worked for Allstate New Jersey Co. for 42 years, sued the insurance company after he received a letter allegedly saying his agent agreement would be terminated Sept. 30.

The lawsuit alleges that Allstate New Jersey Co. violated the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by attempting to terminate his agreement without good cause.

DeLuca is seeking an injunction that bars Allstate New Jersey from terminating the agreement without “good cause” and also is seeking actual and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees, according to media reports.

Allstate asked the New Jersey district court judge, William Martini, to move the case to federal court because the company said its principle place of business is in Illinois, making the suit subject to federal laws governing interstate commerce, according to media reports.

Martini determined it was “undisputed” that Allstate New Jersey is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Co., based in Northbrook, Ill.

“There are enough factors pointing to New Jersey as Allstate New Jersey’s principal place of business for this court to find that [Allstate New Jersey] has failed to carry its burden,” Martini wrote in the ruling.

Martini’s decision was viewed as a win for DeLuca by Jim Fish, executive director of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents (NAPAA).

“State courts tend to be more sympathetic in cases affecting their local citizenry,” Fish said in a statement.

Allstate New Jersey said it does not believe the claim that DeLuca is a franchise is correct.

“Allstate New Jersey Exclusive Agents are independent contractors and not franchisees,” Daniel Jovic, an Allstate New Jersey spokesman, told IFA. “No Allstate agent has ever been determined to be a franchisee under any states’ laws. This is not surprising in that Allstate Exclusive Agents have an agency relationship with the company that is not consistent with a franchise.”

Last week, the NAPAA board voted unanimously to affiliate with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), effective Sept. 1.

“We see OPEIU as a strong partner that can leverage its formidable strengths to help prevent the sort of problems Mr. DeLuca and thousands of other agents experience daily in their relationships with Allstate,” Fish said.
Last edited by RatPak11 on Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:24 pm

http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC. ... iffs_Firms

Switching Sides from Corporate Work to Plaintiffs Firms
Shannon Green
Corporate Counsel
September 27, 2011

Before Jennifer Warns went to work for the plaintiffs law firm Bennett & Albright in August 2010, a partner at the firm made one thing clear. Warns would never be permitted to work on any case in which Allstate Insurance Company was on the other side. She was even instructed to restrict discussion of her 33-year career with Allstate to mundane and entirely personal topics.

What happened next begs two questions: How far will companies go to protect their secrets when employees leave? And how free are former employees to pursue jobs of their choosing?

In July, Allstate filed a federal lawsuit in Maryland against Warns. It claimed that she disclosed confidential information to lawyers at her new firm working on lead paint cases. Warns previously managed cases of landlords sued for allegedly exposing children to toxic paint, Allstate said.

What made the lawsuit all the more surprising is that Warns isn't even a lawyer. She worked for Allstate as a claims adjuster and has only a high school education. In her position, she made settlement recommendations based on lead testing results and plaintiffs' medical records. In a memorandum filed by her attorney, William Alden McDaniel, Jr. (whose firm bears his name), Warns denied knowing anything about the company's litigation strategies.

Allstate has asked the court to prevent Warns from working on lead paint cases filed anywhere in the country, against any defendant—not just those it insures. At Bennett & Albright, Warns assists with lead paint cases involving defendants not insured by Allstate. Her "current job involves almost nothing in the way of substance with regard to lead paint cases: she organizes documents, schedules appointments, takes phone messages, and so forth," according to McDaniel's memorandum. Allstate has "demonstrated nothing that justifies its request for such sweeping injunctive relief," he added. McDaniel declined to comment while the case is pending. Neither Allstate nor its outside counsel, SNR Denton's Kenneth Pfaehler, responded to requests for comment.

If companies adopt these measures against a nonlawyer, imagine what they would do if a lawyer switched sides. Actually, no imagination is required; examples abound. Since the start of the economic downturn, plenty of lawyers have found themselves in similar straits. As companies have downsized their law departments or reset outside counsel rosters, displaced lawyers have sometimes been left little choice but to represent plaintiffs who sue their old companies or clients. These moves have rustled some corporate feathers.

In part, the objections stem from traditions of client loyalty. And that is particularly true of "large, institutional clients that have long-standing relationships with individual lawyers and law firms," says Anthony Alfieri, an ethics professor at the University of Miami Law School. Companies' fears that confidential information will be disclosed are not altogether unreasonable, says Alfieri. But traditions are eroding, he says, and some clients perceive that as a threat.

In response to the changing work environment, the American Bar Association relaxed its restrictions on lawyer mobility. Previously, its Model Rules of Professional Conduct said that government lawyers who moved to private firms could be screened off from colleagues to avoid a conflict. But a private lawyer's conflict was imputed to the entire firm. In February 2009 the ABA said that the rule for government lawyers applies to all. Part of the reason for the change, according to Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics professor at New York University, "was to make it easier for lawyers to change jobs or find new ones when they are let go."

The rules apply not only to lawyers, but also to paralegals. Allstate can ask that Warns be screened off from cases involving its clients, says Gillers. But the rules don't prevent her from working on cases where the company's interests are not directly implicated.

Robert Klein, a partner at Miami's Klein, Glasser, Park, Lowe & Pelstring, is not surprised by Allstate's aggressive posture. Klein represents lawyers who faced resistance from former clients when they switched sides. In recent years he's witnessed a dramatic increase in suits and disqualification motions by corporations against former lawyers. He says the complaints are often strategic, and many are lodged by insurance companies.

Klein recently represented a medical malpractice defense lawyer who changed allegiance after representing doctors—through their insurance companies—for more than 25 years. When the work dried up as a result of tort reform, he decided to apply his expertise to plaintiffs cases. The first one he filed was met with a motion to disqualify from the insurance company. "They basically said to him, 'You can't do this line of work,' " Klein explains.

Efforts to prevent switching sides aren't limited to the insurance industry. In the past year, Klein has represented several lawyers who have been challenged by former corporate clients. Last year Klein was hired by Jonathan Aronson to defend him in three separate cases on motions to disqualify filed by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

For nearly 15 years, Aronson was outside counsel for the cruise line in hundreds of lawsuits—mostly personal injury—brought by employees and passengers. He specializes in cruise law, and Royal Caribbean made up the majority of his client base. When the company bulked up its in-house law department, Aronson's caseload dropped from 65 cases per year down to just one in 2009.

But when Aronson took on plaintiffs work, Royal Caribbean was very unhappy. The company had also cut back on work it farmed out to other counsel, and Aronson says, "I'm not sure that they anticipated that people then were going to have to make a living." After spending close to a year setting up a plaintiffs shop, the Aronson Law Firm, he took a case against Carnival Corporation in January 2010. When he filed a suit against Royal Caribbean later that year, Aronson says it went after him with a vengeance. The company set out to show that if its former lawyers were going to represent plaintiffs, "they'd first have to spend a lot of money to get that freedom."

Aronson says the cruise line tried to use him as an example to its other counsel. He spent a small fortune fighting the assertion that he had information no lawyer could obtain through discovery alone. The cruise line claimed Aronson's insider knowledge potentially gave him an advantage in litigation. It accused him of stealing its "playbook," says James Walker, a name partner at plaintiffs firm Walker & O'Neill who has been Aronson's cocounsel in a number of slip-and-fall cases. "This wasn't IP," says Walker. Royal Caribbean also moved to disqualify Walker on the basis of the information it said Aronson shared with him.

Aronson insists that his knowledge is no way unique. There are "no secret studies, no secret passwords," he says. His approach doesn't differ from that of any reasonably prudent plaintiffs lawyer. "I might ask for the maintenance log, whether there had been prior accidents, was there [closed circuit television]?" says Aronson. But those types of requests are standard procedure. "And if there's a secret," he says, "I'm prohibited from using it."

So far, the courts have agreed with Aronson. Two disqualification motions filed in the U.S. district court in Miami were resolved in Aronson's favor. A state court judge reached the same decision. Thus far the company hasn't taken action against other lawyers who have followed in Aronson's footsteps.

But that's not to say that Royal Caribbean has changed its course. Quite the contrary, says Tony Faso, the ­company's associate vice president, guest and employee legal services. "Being guided by the precedent, as we must," he says, "we are carefully watching for any future cases where any of these former defense lawyers have switched sides." In the appropriate case, he says, Royal Caribbean will raise another conflict objection. And if judges continue to rule against former employers, some corporations may end up taking other protective measures down the road, says Faso.

For his company and others, he adds, this "may be a wake-up call."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.marylandinjurylawyerblog.com ... e_adj.html

March 1, 2012
Allstate v. Former Allstate Adjuster
By Ronald V. Miller, Jr

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake issued a fascinating opinion this week in Allstate v. Warns, denying a former Allstate adjuster’s motion for summary judgment in a “we think you stole our documents and provided them to the plaintiffs’ lawyer” case. The facts are juicy. It is more than worth the time to lay them out. Get some popcorn and head back over here.

Welcome back. Defendant was an Allstate claims adjuster for 33 years, handling only lead paint cases during the last 5 years of her Allstate tenure. Seemingly, the very definition of a company gal. I would think that if you stay at Allstate for 33 years, you would be ordering extra glasses of the Colossus Kool-Aid and all the other noxious potions they are concocting in the lunch room over there.

The first clue that this adjuster had fallen of the wagon is that she invited a number of plaintiffs’ lawyers – including the plaintiffs’ lawyer, that is going to hire her in a second, who she had ongoing lead paint cases with – to a party at her house. Allstate, probably monitoring the cameras it has installed at the homes of all its employees, found out and confronted the adjuster. Later, Allstate – alleges anyway – that this same plaintiffs’ lawyer had sent her flowers, gifts, and cards while she was at Allstate. Allstate says the adjuster quit, claiming she was going through personal issues. The adjuster was next seen by Baltimore Housing Authority lawyers, no strangers to controversy themselves; passing what someone thought was a confidential Allstate instruction manual on lead paint cases at the trial table of the flower/card/gift sending plaintiffs’ lawyer. (That might not be exactly how Allstate found out. Humor me. The story reads better that way.) So Allstate sued her.


Allstate’s lawsuit brought claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, and requests both monetary damages – including punitive damages probably just to try to scare the woman senseless – and injunctive relief for the claims adjuster to stop doing these things. To stick with the insanity, the plaintiffs’ law firm that hired her is defending her in this case.

What a great story! The end. No, wait, I forgot, the court actually issued a really well reasoned opinion supported by law. But the fun part of this post isn’t over.

The court skeptically let the breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract claims continue, although she openly questioned the viability of the claims. She underscored this doubt about Allstate’s lawsuit by refusing their request for a preliminary injunction because it questioned Allstate’s likelihood of success which is a key factor to consider in whether to provide injunctive relief. The punitive damage claims were, not surprisingly, dismissed. The opinion provides a lot of interesting analysis on these issues, but few Maryland personal injury lawyers will ever have to address these issues if they steer clear of trying to pick off insurance companies’ claims adjusters.

Let’s get back to the more interesting discussion of what happened here. First, let’s take all of the allegations with a grain of salt: Allstate seeks conspiracies wherever it turns. But even setting aside what I suspect are some convenient distortions and downright fiction from Allstate – somehow, I doubt she was flouting documents she stole during a trial – there is a lot of strange stuff going on here. For example, our law firm has sent dozens of cards to adjusters who I know have been sick or lost a loved one. But sending cards, flowers, and candy? And then you hire them? Charitably put, we can all agree that is just weird. Allstate is pointing to a lot of smoke in this case. Whether there is actually fire or it is just Allstate being Allstate is anyone guess.

If Allstate is loaded for bear as they appear to be, this case will be just the beginning. I would look for Allstate and other defense lawyers to try to disqualify this law firm from future cases and I would not be surprised if some defense firm files a claim against the adjuster and this law firm on behalf of Stanley Rochkind, an often sued lead paint defendant in Baltimore, in light of Allstate’s allegation that the adjuster stole a file and properties he owned. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

*THE COURT'S OPINION IN ALLSTATE V. WARNS:
http://www.mdd.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Op ... 2%2012.pdf

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/di ... 1364562611

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MARYLAND

CHAMBERS OF
STEPHANIE A. GALLAGHER
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE


101 WEST LOMBARD STREET
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND 21201

(410) 962-7780
Fax (410) 962-1812

March 28, 2013
LETTER TO COUNSEL:

RE: Allstate Insurance Company v. Jennifer Warns;
Civil No. CCB-11-1846

Dear Counsel:

This case has been referred to me to address issues pertaining to discovery and related
matters. [ECF No. 83]. Currently pending are the Motion to Compel Production of Complete
Document [ECF No. 102] filed by Defendant Jennifer Warns ("Ms. Warns") and the Motion for
Leave to File Surreply filed by Plaintiff Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate"). [ECF No.
104]. I have reviewed both motions, the oppositions, and replies thereto. No hearing is deemed
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons set forth herein, Ms. Warns's
Motion will be DENIED, and Allstate's Motion will be GRANTED.

This case involves claims of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract arising out of
allegations that Ms. Warns is using confidential and privileged information gleaned during her
employment at Allstate to benefit her new employer, David Albright, Jr. Mr. Albright's law firm
frequently engages in litigation against Allstate’s insureds. The parties’ current dispute centers

*Click onto the url address below for full letter:
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/di ... 1364562611
Last edited by RatPak11 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:31 am

*The following comments were taken from the Allstate Yahoo Message Board:

http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stock ... f=44&frt=2

Blood on their hands?? 23-Aug-11 08:45 pm Just a few disgruntled agents?…………..NOT!
rickandlaur...

Second agent in 30 days commits suicide! Yes this is being reported on message boards now. Just last week another Allstate Agent committed suicide due to the extreme pressure put on agents. He was told his termination letter was on the way.

This is all very sad. Allstate started on this Scientology method of management quite a few years ago. The damage done to personal lives has been devastating. These are not the “few disgruntled agents” that the company spin says….These are good agents the made good money for the company.

The real sad thing is how the pressure has gotten to many of us. Some agents are so backed into a corner that they are taking desperate measures to survive. And some don’t see any way out!

I was an Allstate agent for 32 years. I was one of the “chosen ones” who was always in good standing with the company. Always made all of my quotas and bought in to most of their programs. But being in good graces with this company is a slippery slope. The threats are always there. The job was killing me. Thank God I was able to sell my profitable agency last month. The choice was to take on a huge financial risk and buy another agency or two to “get to scale” or get out. I was in a position where I could make some personal changes in my life and move on.

The company wants the Allstate Agent to “invest in their business”. The problem is how can you take on a huge financial risk in this environment? As a business person you need to develop a business plan at least five years out. Allstate is so bipolar, it is impossible to make a plan without any real expectations of what to expect from the company!

So, us “few disgruntled agents” are leaving in droves. We built this company and were willing to continue our hard work. But the company does not value us anymore. Guess who goes with us? Yep, the “personal touch loyalists” the customer base that we developed.

This company is going the way of Sears. This management team is like Gadhafi. Complete denial! How to these people sleep at night?

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Re: Blood on their hands?? 24-Aug-11 07:16 am
pdbwinchest...

TC's poor management decisions and misguided focus has definitely taking Allstate down the Myopic Sears Road. The dispair of many middle aged folks who made this company great is felt from coast to coast and any life lost due to this mismanagement and economic downturn is a stain that will remain with this Poor Management Group for a lifetime.

Current Management is now relying on Brand; but they fail to realize that the All Brand is only as good as those who represent it, Not Those Bean Counters In Management, and unlike the Golden Arches, the products they now put on the table is much higher than the competition and they hide behind the Stakeholders need for increased stock prices while at the same time they reduce the dividends and waste Billions on buybacks that could be better used to lower prices and show their consuming public a real appreciation for Our Personal Touch Loyalist.

While they blame the Agents for lower production levels and loss of PTL's, they go out and invest Billions in CDS's and now blame the Investment Firms for their poor decisions and lack of due diligence on their part.

This Blame Game has Failed them in the Past and will Fail them in the FUTURE. We need CHANGE NOW.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: Blood on their hands?? 24-Aug-11 10:00 pm
gatore52

TPP and take your client s with you. Personal touch market wants YOU. I have a plan B, and I plan on leaving soon, with my staff, and will take most of my clients with us. There is a special place in Hell for our CEO and the rest of his puppets..............BURN you BAST---ds!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: Blood on their hands?? 29-Aug-11 06:36 am
dotdotdot3d...

I have been an Allstate customer since buying my first car 42 years ago. Had one agent for 30 years till he retired and now remain with only the second ALL agent that I have ever had...but to my surprise, my loyalty is gone. The only thing that keeps me doing business with this company is the solid local office in Chicago that I have dealt with for so long, which is always there for me.
Competitors are cheaper, and I'm getting pummeled with calls and sales letters from many state farm small offices, so they have apparently been put into the gladitorial area to cannibalize each other. It's too ugly for me as a consumer to hang around and be pawns in these corporate games. If anything happens to my agent and her support team, I'm going with them, I just hope she'll let me know what company to switch to, as I trust her judgement a lot when it comes to all types of insurance.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Re: Blood on their hands?? 27-Aug-11 03:11 pm
haroldkande...

You have it right, I was a 30 yr agent that sold a couple yrs ago, also met the
goals but the stress was unbearable with a questionable future.
They forgot that the agents brought in their revenue. I copied a statement from Crains' that said it all.

"In 2010, Encompass accounted for just 4% of Allstate’s total premiums, down from7% in 2006. The vast majority of Allstate’s revenues come from its network of 12,000 Allstate agents."
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:30 pm

The following was taken from 'Insurance Forums' website.

click onto the URL address below for the webpage:

http://www.insurance-forums.net/forum/g ... 27779.html
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Starting or Purchasing an Agency with AllState
Originally Posted by SFGuy415 Hello everyone,

I am in the process of becoming an approved candidate with AllState in California. However, I am not sure whether to start a scratch agency or purchase an existing one yet. If I want to purchase an existing book of business, can you please let me know what to look for in the seller's reports in order to determine whether it is a good purchase. Also, how does the negotiation work? Do you negotiate directly with the selling agent or via AllState?

Any information/suggestion you could provide is appreciated.

Best,

-----------------------------------------------------------------
xrac
Guru
There are 42 posts on this subject in this thread. There are many other threads on this subject on here. If I were you I would read what others are sayings.

Allstate Agency
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Re: Starting or Purchasing an Agency with AllState Go to Top
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

insurance1822
Expert
We are the #2 agency in the Northeast Region of Allstate and I can certainly speak on the matter. DO NOT BUY INTO OR EXPAND WITH ALLSTATE AT THIS TIME. To go the scratch route will be suicide (do not let the FSL pitch it any other way) You will make essentially a 10k bonus if you hit 2.5x baseline, 44% commission commission the first 6 months which then ticks down to the standard 10/10 after 3 years (IF YOU ARE HITTING 2.5X BASELINE) You also get a per policy bonus but trust me...trust me...trust me...DO NOT DO IT. Here's the next best part...

Allstate has RFG (resources for growth) which is their current way of evaluating agencies from everything to keeping your contract to a sliding NB/RENEWAL commission scale. That's right...in 2012 your NB commission will floor at (it's rumored) 6% and same w/ renewals. It's currently 10/10. If you max RFG (only 10% of offices will) it will shoot to 11/11. Otherwise they are only slashing. Guess what RFG IS? P&C rentention, P&C growth (policies in force over previous year) LIFE/FINANCIAL production and "ALI." Now what is ALI you ask? AGENCY LOYALTY INDEX. The newest anal raping device from Allstate. Policyholders (selected at random...or so they say) get a 3 page survey from Allstate asking a handful of questions. Only 3 questions apply to your agency (how likely are you to renew, how satisfied are you with your agent and how likely are you to refer your agent) The scale is 1-5...if they don't answer a (5) which is the best...your LOSE. Next best part...insureds are killing us on this survey (afterhours call center speaks broken english, why should i pay my deductible for a hit and run non fault...my agent isn't pulling for me (in that hit and run circumstance) why did my premium go up etc... WE ALL KNOW THE INEVITABLE GRIPS OF INSUREDS and guess what? on that survey these insureds hold OUR OFFICE to these unavoidable common day personal lines service gripes. And allstate is coming down w/ an IRON FIST. We hire telemarketing companies to call every insured at every renewal, we call every insured with a claim, we do everything we can do. But when your company claims service is run by abu in india....your insureds policy increases and our web program says "unable to identify reason for premium increase" and there is no support...that survey is going to hammer you. They are shutting down 30% of agents in 2012 based off this ALI. Scratch office will need minimum of 18k life/afs production (ok shouldn't be a problem) and after that you are looking at 40k+ life production every year just to NOT LOSE POINTS in that category. If you can buy a book that cash flows (2mil or more)...has an unrealistically low loss ratio and the seller will sell for 2x or less....OK MAYBE....MAYBE. But trust me...this company is wicked, ruthless, sinister and you will have 50% of your agency running on un-controllable "what if's" I would pursue other carriers. We have earned phenominal income over the years and we cannot complain for that..but moving forward it's just not what is used to be. We are that TOP agency that the FSL will show your OUR results and pitch how well off you will be after years of growing your book. Run my friend....RUN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
You need to look at the PIF trend over the last 5 years...you must look extremely hard at the loss ratio and ALI. Retention...well obviously. Look at the overall % of AIC, APC, AFCIC, INDEMNITY and other line 10 PIF. Older AIC retains well but your sitting on over priced premium, etc. If the ALI is 70 or below on an existing book RUN. If the loss ratio is over 55 RUN. Interview the EFS's in the market and when that's all done....find the nearest brick wall....bang your head off it and shame on you for even considering Allstate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ryeates1
Expert
I agree with above posts. I was a financial services specialist with allstate for over 4 years. lots of agents dissatisfied. If there was a choice between scratch agency and buying an agency, I would look at buying an agency first. then look hard at the books, retention is really important. see how many customers have a financial product, if it is a low percentage, that book hasnt been worked very hard and you can make your financial numbers. it is really really important to make financial numbers or you lose big chunk of bonus.
I am in arkansas and there are a ton of agencies for sale, so now may be good time to low ball an agent and get a good price on a book. You have to know how to cross sell or refer to your financial guy or you are going to have problem. The other problem i see is most allstate agents dont have good support staff person. pay support staff person more than going rate, give her/him performance bonus incentives and you will be miles ahead
just my two cents
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SFGuy415
Thank you all for your replies, especially insurance1822 for your very insightful information. I have a call with the Field Sale Leader in my market tomorrow, so I will make sure to ask about all these important points you mentioned before deciding whether it is worth my time and money to invest in it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

asfan
New Member
They are all cut throat in this biz. Turning up the heat on agents like never before. SF is the same. You either make with Allstate, SF, etc, or you die a horrible, financial death / debt.
Great advise to look hard at the books of an existing agency. What is on paper today, will float away tomorrow when you open your doors.
Never, ever do a scratch agency with Allstate. They will suck the life blood out of you to promote financial services and anything else you can sell. No other carrier is different at this time either.
Until the dust settles between SF, Allstate, Progressive, Geico, Nationwide, etc...get used to writing policies to watch them leave tomorrow for better price. Or another agent with your own company.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby My08stang » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:31 am

I was promised the world, and in return I lost my health insurance, friends, finances, and the right to make an honest living... Pick another one!!!
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:14 am

http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/al ... 963f4.html


Allstate to close Cross Plains call center; 214 to lose jobs
JUDY NEWMAN | Wisconsin State Journal | jdnewman@madison.com | 608-252-6156


Allstate Insurance Co. says it will close its call center in Cross Plains by Dec. 31, ending the jobs of 214 employees.

Cross Plains Village President Kurt Schlicht received a letter from Allstate on Wednesday, saying the closing is "the direct result of improvements in technology, declining insurance claim counts and efficiency gains."

"It's very troubling, very sad," Schlicht said. "It's another sock in the stomach for the economy."

Matt Schuenke, Cross Plains village administrator and clerk-treasurer, said Allstate's announcement came as a complete surprise. "There was no warning," he said.

It is the second big loss of call center jobs in the Madison area — within 35 miles of each other — in three weeks. Lands' End, of Dodgeville, said in late September it will end 149 positions at its Dodgeville call center by the end of January. Another 50 job cuts at the company's headquarters already have taken effect.

Allstate's "express claims" call center at 1850 Ludden Drive in Cross Plains opened in 2007, two years after Lands' End closed a call center at the same location.

At the time, the state Department of Commerce offered Allstate up to $750,000 in Enterprise Development Zone tax credits, to be applied to the Northbrook, Ill., company's Wisconsin income taxes over three years. The offer came with the understanding that the jobs would stay at the site for the development zone's seven-year duration.

Now, Allstate is pulling up stakes only five years later. But the insurance company is not reneging on a deal with the state because it never received the tax credits, said Tom Thieding, spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., successor agency to the Department of Commerce.

"The company never submitted annual reports requesting the tax credits so none were released," Thieding said.

Allstate spokesman Justin Herndon said the Wisconsin claims center is the only one to be closed. Eight others, nationwide, will remain open and will add 110 jobs. He said the Cross Plains employees can apply for those jobs and may be eligible for relocation assistance.

Asked why the Cross Plains site could not stay open but with fewer employees, Herndon said the decision was made based on such factors as "effectiveness, efficiency and technology ... I don't think you can pin it on any one particular thing."

"They were great business partners and great neighbors. I'm sorry to see them go," Schlicht said.

The 34,950-square-foot Cross Plains building and the land it sits on are owned by a limited liability company and valued at $4.1 million, according to the Access Dane website.

"We'd certainly want to work with the property owner to try to assist them in refilling the space, as best we can," Schuenke said. He said there are no interested parties at this time.
RatPak11
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:04 pm

http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/jo ... 963f4.html


Job search aid offered for Allstate employees facing layoffs


The state Department of Workforce Development is providing $25,000 in job search assistance for Allstate Insurance Co. employees facing layoffs at its call center in Cross Plains.

DWD said Wednesday that it provided the funding to its regional partner, the south-central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, to begin services for the 214 employees affected by plans to close the center Dec. 31.

The funding will be used to provide such services as career assessment, job search workshops, information on the job market and a job fair. Services will be provided on site at Allstate prior to the scheduled layoffs and at local job centers following separation.

In its layoff notice last month, Allstate cited improvements in technology, declining insurance claims and efficiency gains as reasons for the closure.



Comments
Report Abuse iponder - 18 hours ago
Just another sign that Walker cant create the 250,000 jobs he promised.
Reply

Report Abuse Lynn4300XL - 18 hours ago
Yep, more Obamacare carnage.
Reply

Report Abuse Shake - 17 hours ago
In its layoff notice last month, Allstate cited improvements in technology, declining insurance claims and efficiency gains as reasons for the closure.

Obamacare is responsible for improvements in technology, declining insurance claims and efficiency? Holy Moly, it's a far better bill than I gave it credit for!
Reply

Report Abuse scorp - 19 hours ago
I do hope that the company is being fair with the choice of personnel to be laid off. They should only lay off those who wanted "change" and voted for Obama.
Reply

Report Abuse Tricolor Dog - 18 hours ago
How'd that election work out for you, little guy? This is going to be fun four years!
Reply

Report Abuse scorp - 2 hours ago
Only if you have a job! For me it will be great entertainment , watching the increase in panhandlers . They will be lined up on every street corner , holding their union signs.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*But, With All These Expense Savings, Will Allstate's Rates Go Down Or,
Will The CEO & Board Members Give Themselves Fat Pay Increases & Bonuses While Congratulating Themselves On Screwing The Middle Class...
RatPak11
Last edited by RatPak11 on Wed May 08, 2013 12:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
RatPak11
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Mon May 06, 2013 2:55 pm

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013 ... t=personal

Allstate Execs Say Agency Plan Has Worked; Count Stabilizing
By Chad Hemenway, PropertyCasualty360.com
May 2, 2013

Allstate says controversial steps it made in an effort to improve agency performance are working.

The Northbrook, Ill.-insurer over the last several years has changed its compensation and bonus structure while adjusting performance standards. Additionally the company offered financing for agency acquisitions, resulting in a drop in the total number of agencies.

Also Read: Allstate Q1 Profit Falls 7.4%; Home, Auto Policy Count Decline Slows

During a conference call on the insurer’s earnings, CEO Thomas J. Wilson quashed a statement from an analyst who implied the reason for the decline in agencies was due to the new compensation plan.

Instead, Wilson says agents chose to close shop based on their own fate based on their “ability to succeed”—personal choices related to “their own skills, capabilities and what they wanted to do.”

Matthew Winter, president of Allstate Auto, Home and Agencies, adds the reduction in agency count “was not all unintended.”

"We had some expected attrition during that period as we were shifting and trying to get to a more productive agency force," Winters says.

However, the strategy has worked and the agency count has stabilized, Wilson and Winter insist.

Winter says there is an initiative to grow the number of agencies and sales professionals through a concerted effort to improve recruiting, selection and training.

Agents who remain after the changes are “more representative” of Allstate’s strategy to push household bundling and improve customer experience.

"It appears to be doing what we wanted it to do," Winters says. "It's driving the behaviors we want."

He credited agents with doing a “phenomenal job” adjusting business plans, and many enjoyed a “good payout”—with a “high percentage making the variable compensation.”

"We've seen agencies prove that they can be very effective with our new structure, with our new compensation structure, with our new support model and with our new customer value proposition," Winters says.

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COMMENTS:


Lisa
This was a pay cut for most of the agents. It was a good spin.


Terry
In my orbit, most agents with Allstate are experiencing increased compensation, not a pay cut. Only a cut if you aren't paying attention to how you run your business and make your money.


Dave
Plain and simple, most agents were forced out due to not meeting company requirements. Tom Wilson is a great story teller.


Terry As a career Allstate agency owner I can say that the moves the company made make perfect sense to me. My income is up substantially over the past few years. The variable comp plan and other comp structures align behind what Allstate needs to accomplish as well as what I want to accomplish as an agency owner. Very happy.


Lisa
Allstate is the worst company to work for as an agent. The company requirements were a smoke screen to force out the older agents. They forced out the last group of older agents in 2000. The new contract in 2000 was, also, a commission decrease. They have no respect

mrookergolf1
Gee, I wonder why the agents formed a guild/union to deal with management if this is so great.


ReplyEddy Mata II •
Mr. Wilson's comments are a joke. They have forced out older agents and even forced out a younger agent who was not meeting "expected results" (eg. quotas) when he was top in life sales in the city because he was not in an area they wanted to sell in (redlining?). I get calls all the time to become an Allstate agent, be my own boss they say, set my own hours they say. What a joke! What they don't tell you is they own your phone number, they own your office space even though you're on the lease, they set your office hours. They treat you like an employee even though the new contract in 2000 says you're an independent contractor. Independent contractors don't have "expected results". I don't have to try and hammer a square peg into a round hole to meet "expected results".


Scafandra Leipsig
7.4 % reduction in profit??...Not that is a behavior I probably would not want. And not those former agents get all your old business...including mine. Great moves Allstate.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:20 pm

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013 ... urer-for-a

Former Allstate Minnesota Agent Sues Insurer for Alleged Unjust Dismissal
By Chad Hemenway, PropertyCasualty360.com
July 18, 2013

A former Allstate agent in Minnesota has filed a lawsuit against the insurer, alleging it violated state law when it terminated him for failing to meet life insurance quotas.

The National Association of Professional Allstate Agents (NAPAA), affiliated as a guild with the Office and Professional Employees International Union, says it has been working closely with Jerry Deleski, a former Allstate of 39 years.

NAPAA says the insurer was investigated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce was charged with violating two state statutes while dismissing Deleski. Allstate agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty in lieu of facing formal proceedings on the charges, NAPAA says.

Allstate spokesman Justin Herndon says, "Allstate cooperated fully with the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s investigation of Mr. Deleski’s claims, which the company resolved amicably with the department. [Allstate] believes Mr. Deleski’s lawsuit is meritless and the company intends to defend against it vigorously."

NAPAA alleges the problem is bigger than Deleski. The association says the number of Allstate agents has declined nearly 30 percent since 2007, and in 2006 the insurer imposed a new quota system requiring agents to meet specifc sales goals. Failure to meet teh goals would results in the loss of the agents' contracts, says NAPAA.

“While we know nearly 4,000 agents have parted ways with Allstate – many of them involuntarily – the company has been replacing them with new, but often less experienced, individuals,” says Jim Fish, NAPAA’s executive director, in a statement. “We believe the firings were not only ill-advised, but have accelerated the company’s fall from second to third place among top auto insurers.”

NAPAA estimates the number of agents in the state of Minnesota was about 158 in 2007. The count todays stands at 84 exclusive agents under contract.

NAPAA says Deleski's case, if it were to succeed, would set a precedent for other former Minnesota insurance agents to recover damages for the unlawful termination of their contracts.
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Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:21 pm

http://www.insurancenetworking.com/news ... 702-1.html

Allstate Faces Suit for Wrongful Termination of Agents
Minnesota Department of Commerce finds agents’ dismissal for failing to achieve sales quota violates state laws.
Insurance Networking News, July 18, 2013
Chris McMahon

A former agent under contract to Allstate Insurance Co. has initiated a lawsuit against the insurer alleging it violated a Minnesota statute when the company terminated him for failing to meet life insurance quotas.

Jerry Deleski, an Allstate agent for 39 years, and his attorney, Chris Daniels of Daniels & Kibort PLLC, are working with the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents Inc. (NAPAA), a nonprofit organization representing former and current agents under contract with Allstate, to determine whether Allstate violated state laws when the company terminated Deleski and other Allstate agents in Minnesota.

A spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Commerce confirmed that it investigated Allstate's dismissal of Deleski and charged the company with violating the statute as well as second that required Allstate to inform Deleski of his right to a hearing before a review board. The Minnesota Department of Commerce also confirmed that in November 2012, Allstate agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty to the state in lieu of facing formal proceedings on the charges.

“Allstate cooperated fully with the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s investigation of Deleski’s claims, which the company resolved amicably with the department,” said an Allstate spokesman. “The company believes Deleski’s lawsuit is meritless, and the company intends to defend against it vigorously. Allstate continues to position agency owners to best serve our customers and grow the business. We are committed to helping prepare and protect our customers for all of life's uncertainties.”

Allstate instituted a quota system in 2006 that required agents to meet specific sales goals, NAPAA said, and agents were instructed that failure to attain their quotas could result in the loss of their contracts.

"While we know nearly 4,000 agents have parted ways with Allstate – many of them involuntarily – the company has been replacing them with new, but often less experienced, individuals," said Jim Fish, executive director for NAPAA. "We believe the firings were not only ill-advised, but have accelerated the company's fall from second to third place among top auto insurers."

NAPAA said the number of Allstate agents nationally has declined nearly 30 percent, to 9,300 from 13,200 since 2007, according to Allstate’s SEC filings. The organization estimated that in Minnesota there are 84 exclusive Allstate agents under contract today, compared to 158 in 2007.
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