Hawker v. Pekin Insurance Company
Hawker v. Pekin Settlement
Case No. 21-CV-002169

Frequently Asked Questions


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  • A Court authorized the notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of this class action, including the right to claim money, and about your options regarding this settlement before the Court decides whether to give “Final Approval” to the settlement.  If the Court approves the parties’ Settlement Agreement, and if any appeals are resolved in favor of the settlement, then payments will be made to those who qualify and timely submit a valid claim.  The notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who may be eligible for them, and how to get them.

    The Franklin County Common Pleas Court is overseeing this class action.  The case is called Hawker v. Pekin Insurance Company, Case No.:  21-CV-002169.  The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs,” and the companies they sued is called the “Defendant.”

  • The settlement includes Pekin Insurance Company (“the Insurance Company”).

  • The lawsuit claims that the Insurance Company improperly deducted depreciation attributable to costs of labor and other nonmaterial items when adjusting some homeowners’ insurance claims in Ohio.  The Insurance Company has maintained that it paid claims when reasonable and appropriate to do so and has denied all allegations that it acted wrongfully or unlawfully.

  • In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Norma Hawker) sued on behalf of people who have similar claims.  All these people are a “Class” or “Class Members.”  One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiff or the Insurance Company, and has not found that the Insurance Company did anything wrong.  Instead, both sides agreed to settle.  That way, the parties avoid the cost of a trial and potentially an appeal, and the people who qualify will get compensation.  The Class Representative and her attorneys think the settlement is best for all Class Members.  The settlement does not mean that the Insurance Company did anything wrong, no trial has occurred, and no merits determinations have been made.

  • To see if you are eligible for benefits from this settlement, you first have to determine if you are a Class Member.

  • If you received the Notice, then you have been identified as someone who is likely to be a member of the Class.  The Settlement Class includes: (a) All policyholders under any Personal Lines or Commercial Lines insurance policy issued by Pekin Insurance Company, except for those excluded, who made a Structural Loss claim for property located in the State of Ohio during the applicable Class Periods, and (b) that resulted in an actual cash value payment from which Nonmaterial Depreciation was withheld, or that would have resulted in an actual cash value payment but for the withholding of Nonmaterial Depreciation causing the loss to drop below the applicable deductible.

    A Structural Loss means physical damage to a home, building, manufactured home, condo, rental dwelling, or other structure in Ohio while covered by any Personal Lines or Commercial Lines  insurance policy issued by the company under (a) and (b) above.

    A Covered Loss means a first party insurance claim for Structural Loss that (a) occurred during the Class Periods, and (b) the Insurance Company or a court of competent jurisdiction determined to be covered under a Ohio insurance policy issued by the companies under (a) and (b) above and resulted in an ACV Payment by the Insurance Company, or would have resulted in an ACV Payment but for the deduction of Nonmaterial Depreciation.

    Nonmaterial Depreciation means depreciation of labor costs, overhead and profit, or other non-labor items, and not of materials or sales tax, and that is subtracted from replacement cost value in determining an actual cash value payment.  Nonmaterial Depreciation includes application of “depreciate removal”, “depreciate nonmaterial”, and “depreciate O&P” settings within Xactimate estimating software.

    The Class Periods mean the following time periods:

    For Ohio policyholders of Pekin Insurance Company, Structural Loss claims whose first structural damage payment (or notification of claim below deductible) was issued on or after February 13, 2018 to March 19, 2020.

  • Excluded from the Class are: (a) policyholders whose claims arose under policy forms, endorsements, or riders expressly permitting deduction of  Nonmaterial Depreciation within the text of the policy form, endorsement or rider, i.e., by express use of the words “depreciation” and “labor”;  (b) policyholders who received one or more actual cash value payments that exhausted the applicable limits of insurance; (c) policyholders whose claims were denied or abandoned without actual cash value payments; (d) the Defendant and their officers and directors; (e) members of the judiciary and their staff to whom this action is assigned and their immediate families; and (f) Class Counsel and their immediate families (collectively, “Exclusions”). 

  • If you are not sure whether you are included in the Class, you may call the toll free number 1-877-379-5988 with questions or review the court filings on the Important Documents page.

  • Class Members who completed and signed a claim form and mailed it to the proper address, or submitted a claim form online, may be eligible for a payment. The deadline to submit a claim form was April 11, 2022, which has passed. Under the settlement, the Insurance Company has agreed to pay Class Members who timely submit valid claims determined as follows:  (a) for Class Members to whom all Nonmaterial Depreciation has not been paid, 100% of the estimated Nonmaterial Depreciation that was withheld and not later paid, plus up to $25 interest; (b) for Class Members to whom all Nonmaterial Depreciation that was withheld and later paid, up to $25 interest on the estimated Nonmaterial Depreciation that was initially withheld, from the date of the last actual cash value payment from which Nonmaterial Depreciation was withheld to the date all Nonmaterial Depreciation was paid.

    You needed to submit a claim form in order to determine whether you are eligible for and the amount of your settlement payment. If you did not, you will not receive a settlement payment. For additional details on the payment terms, please see the Settlement Agreement, or call 1-877-379-5988 toll-free.

  • To find out whether you are eligible for a payment, you needed to complete and sign a claim form truthfully, accurately, and completely, to the best of your ability.  You needed to mail the completed claim form to the following address, postmarked no later than April 11, 2022:

    Hawker v Pekin Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91432
    Seattle, WA 98111

    You could have also uploaded a signed, scanned copy of a completed claim form on this website before midnight Central Daylight Time on April 11, 2022.  A copy of the claim form was mailed with the Notice. If you signed a claim form as the representative of a deceased or incapacitated Class Member, you needed to also submit written proof that you are the legally authorized representative. If you are a contractor to whom an insurance claim was properly assigned by a policyholder, you needed to submit written proof of the assignment with the filed claim form.

    The deadline to file a claim was April 11, 2022 and has passed.

  • If the Court grants Final Approval of the settlement, and if any appeals are resolved in favor of the settlement, then payments will be mailed to eligible Class Members after the claims administration process is completed.  This process can take time, so please be patient.

  • Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means you can’t individually sue the Insurance Company and the Released Persons over the claims settled in this case relating to deduction of Nonmaterial Depreciation from payments for Covered Losses.  It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

    If you submit a Claim Form, or if you do nothing and stay in the Class, you will agree to release all Released Claims against all Released Persons. “Released Claims” and “Released Persons” are defined in the Settlement Agreement, which you can request by calling 1-877-379-5988 or view on the Important Documents page.

  • If you didn't want a payment from this settlement, and/or if you wanted to keep the right to individually sue about the issues in this case, then you needed to take steps to get out of the settlement. This is called excluding yourself from—or “opting out” of—the Class.

  • To exclude yourself from the settlement, you needed to mail your request for exclusion postmarked by January 25, 2022 to the Settlement Administrator. The deadline has passed.

  • No.  Unless you excluded yourself, you give up any right to sue the Insurance Company for the claims that this settlement resolves.  You needed to exclude yourself from the Class to individually sue the Insurance Company over the claims resolved by this settlement.  The exclusion deadline was January 25, 2022 and has passed.

  • No.  If you excluded yourself from the settlement, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for a payment.

  • The Court appointed the following law firms to represent you and other Class Members as Class Counsel: 

    Erik D. Peterson (pro hac vice)
    Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterson Trial Lawyers, PLLC
    201 West Short Street, Suite 800
    Lexington, KY 40507
    T: 859.225.3731

    Stephen G. Whetstone (0088666)
    Whetstone Legal, LLC
    P.O. Box 62, N. Main Street, Unit 2
    Thornville, Ohio 43706
    T: 740.785.7730


    You do not have to pay Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, and potentially have that lawyer appear in court for you in this case, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court for up to $825,000 for attorneys’ fees and up to $8,100.00 for reimbursement of their expenses, and will ask the Court to award the Class Representative $7,000 for her efforts in prosecuting this case (called a service award).  The Insurance Company agreed not to oppose the request for fees, expenses, and service award up to these amounts.  The Court may award less than these amounts.  The Insurance Company will pay these fees, expenses, and service award in addition to amounts due to Class Members.  These payments will not reduce the amount distributed to Class Members.  The Insurance Company will also separately pay the costs to administer the settlement.

  • You can tell the Court if you don’t agree with the settlement or some part of it.

  • If you don’t want the Court to approve the settlement you needed to file a written objection with the Court and send a copy to the Settlement Administrator by January 25, 2022. The deadline has passed.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement.  You can object only if you stay in the Class.  Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class or the settlement.  If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.  If you object, and the Court approves the settlement anyway, you will still be legally bound by the result.

  • The Court had a Final Approval Hearing at 9:30 a.m., on February 24, 2022, at the Franklin County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court, 345 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, in, Courtroom 7E. The purpose of the hearing was for the Court to determine whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class; to consider the Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses; and to consider the request for an incentive award to the Class Representative. The Court issued its Final Judgment approving the Settlement on February 25, 2022. You may read the Court's Order here.

  • No. Class Counsel answered any questions the Court may have had, and Class Members were not required to attend.

  • You could have asked the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you needed to have submitted a proper written objection to the settlement, you or your lawyer acting on your behalf could have then gotten the chance to speak at the Final Approval Hearing.  You were not able to speak at the Hearing if you excluded yourself.

  • If you do nothing, you’ll get no payment from this settlement. But, unless you excluded yourself from the settlement, you won’t be able to individually sue for the claims resolved in this case.

  • The notice summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. If you have questions, please call 1-877-379-5988 or visit the Important Documents page, which has a copy of the Settlement Agreement.


For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Hawker v. Pekin Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91432
Seattle, WA 98111