State Farm Mutual Automotive Insurance Company (State Farm) has recently won a racially based lawsuit. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana did not find enough evidence to hold the auto insurance company liable and has since closed the case.
The case began when Robert Cook, owner of Body by Cook Inc., (BBC) claimed he had attempted to register his company as a “Direct Repair Shop” through State Farm’s Select Service Program.
“According to BBC, despite its many attempts to contract with State Farm, State Farm has “refused to contract with Plaintiff [Cook] but ha[s] continued to contract with and make itself available to contract with similarly situated or lesser qualified white-owned or non-minority owned body shops,” a segment from the court documents reads.
Cook, an African American male, is the sole owner of BBC and believed the company was discriminating against him due to his race. State Farm found Cook’s allegations to be without merit and argued three main points in opposition to Cook’s claims in its reply.
“Defendant [State Farm] argues it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Plaintiff [Cook] (1) cannot make a prima facie case of racial discrimination, (2) cannot rebut defendant’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for why it did not contract with BBC, and (3) cannot demonstrate it has sustained any damages,” a section from court documents reads.
Following State Farm’s reply to Cook’s motion for a summary judgement, the court decided to grant the motion for it. After the facts of the case were agreed upon the court found there was not enough evidence to support Cook’s claims of being denied membership due to his race following more facts brought forward by State Farm.
“State Farm listed three reasons for its decision— (1) there was no available contract to award BBC; (2) it would not admit BBC to the program because BBC was previously removed from a State Farm program because of misrepresentations about its repair work; and (3) BBC did not have sufficient staffing, customer service, or repair work for admission to the Select Service Program,” according to court documents.
The District Court ruled in favor of the auto insurance company and has since closed the case.