Our Story and Why I Created This Web Site
Farmers Insurance Group tried to quash
free speech by suing me
in the federal court to shut down this web site. I don’t get Farmers Insurance, instead of fairly and
decently dealing with claims which they should be doing (and are not) they
would rather waste a bunch of money and resources trying to suppress Free
Speech. I would think a company of
this size had some brains. I think they are more driven by
greed and deceit which overshadows any common sense and humanity they
might have. I guess when you are rated "worst"
you can’t get any worse....well then again we are talking about Farmers
Insurance here. Farmers Insurance's claims against FarmersInsuranceGroupSucks.com
vexatious and were in bad faith. Farmers
Insurance will do whatever it can to prevent public Free
Speech criticism of itself, especially Free Speech exercised on the
Internet which has the potential to reach thousands or millions of people.
My wife was in an auto accident, she was not at fault, here are two
pictures (at right) of our totaled car after the accident.
A Farmers Insured person driving a 1997 Ford F150 (big truck) ran a stop sign
with flashing red lights at an intersection and collided into her car on the
left side door behind the driver’s seat. It is imperative to mention that
my wife had just given birth to our first baby six weeks prior to the
time of the accident and was recuperating physically, mentally and emotionally
from the birth experience itself. Furthermore, the bonding between
my wife and our baby during this crucial time was greatly affected due to the
physical pain and emotional and mental suffering that was caused directly from
My wife was bruised on the leg, had intense pain and discomfort in left-side
of her ribs and a stiff neck. She was in a great deal of pain in her upper body,
shoulders, ribs and neck. The emergency room doctor took x-ray’s to make sure
the lungs had not been punctured. He also told her that a slight fracture to the
ribs would not show up in the x-ray. If the ribs were broken, there was nothing
but time that could heal them. The doctor said this type of injury would take
4-6wks. to heal the bruised bone or slightly fractured ribs and that the pain
could last for months. He informed her that she would be very sore the next week
or so, because the body was still in shock and that the aftermath was always
worse the next few days. He told her to only see a doctor if there was any
trouble breathing or if the pain worsened.
My wife was breastfeeding so she did not take any of the pain medication that
was recommended for the welfare of our baby. She never went back to the doctor
because she couldn’t take any painkillers, and because the doctor told her that
time was really her only remedy.
My wife could not bond with our baby like all new-mother’s would want to. She
could not lift or carry the baby, cuddle or rock her. She had pain when bending
over to change her diaper. She had a lot of pain when breastfeeding and felt
fatigued throughout the day. She had nightmares of the accident the first
month of recovery and woke up with fever, shakes, screaming, and intense
My wife’s medical bill was $719 for the emergency room visit and xrays.
I did not know what price to put on all the hardship this accident caused us.
We were to go on vacation within the next two weeks driving the Toyota Camry
that was just totaled in the accident. My wife and I both had to take
additional time off work to deal with this incident.
We hired a maid to clean our house every other week at $40 per visit, the
cost of this for five and a half months was $440.
At the request of Farmers, we sent a letter to them stating what we feel we
should be compensated. We would need to consider the accident itself, the
trauma, the physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering, the nightmares,
the lack of bonding with our child, the compensation for our child who was an
innocent bystander, the reimbursement for maid service, the compensation for
myself and my wife taking off work, the compensation for the inconvenience of
having to purchase a car on top of all this at a time we are suppose to be going
on vacation for the holidays as this accident happened fifteen days before
Christmas. It was hard to put a price on something like this.
Jeff Hickethier, the Farmers Claims Representative, sends us a letter offering
$960. After medical bills that is just $241 for the pain, suffering, maid
help and punitive damages. I was shocked and in disbelief! What
else could I expect, someone’s pizza
party or $25 gift certificate may have been at stake. Jeff and I
talked on the phone multiple times before and after this offer. Jeff had
said this was the most he would offer us since it was directly based on the
medical bill. (Lesson Learned: If after an accident you are
in pain, go to the doctors office daily or weekly, this is the only way to be
compensated for punitive damages without hiring a attorneys, expert witnesses,
etc...well theoretically at least. Farmers Insurance would probably have
low-balled us anyway.)
Jeff sends us another letter offering us $1019.
I call a few attorneys and speak to them about our case. I was told that
Farmers generally gives low settlement offers knowing that most people do
not have the financial resources to hire an attorney to go after them.
My only options were to:
1. Accept the $1019.
2. Spend thousands of dollars on attorney fees, expert witnesses and additional
tests and pursue the case in hopes of winning.
3. File a suit in small claims court where the max amount we could win is
I filed a small claims suit against the insured. A voluntary
settlement/mediation (automatically scheduled by court) was scheduled for
2/24/2003, I later receive a postcard (2/4/2003) that Farmers is unwilling to
mediate. (Lesson Learned: Do not file suit against insurer, file
against insured. Only plaintiff, defendant and any witnesses may speak in
small claims, no lawyers.)
On or around this day I exercise my Free Speech and build a web site critical
of Farmers Insurance. The site was originally located on a server administered by Michigan
State University (MSU).
Small Claims court. Even though the rules state lawyers can’t speak on
behalf of their insured, Farmers sends a lawyer and requests that the judge let
him speak on behalf of the insured. The judge asked me if I would be OK with that, I told her absolutely not. The judge denied their request. The judgment was for us, we won the trial.
After the case, the judge recommended that we hire an
attorney. I feel she recommended this knowing if we put forth the
time, effort and financial resources, we could get a lot more compensation for
what we have been put through. I am sure the insured
doesn’t know if you lose a lawsuit and have to pay money your credit report is
negatively effected. As stated on FDIC’s web
site, "What are the most important factors in determining my credit
score?"... "a court judgment ordering you to pay money as a
result of a lawsuit will negatively affect your credit score." It
should be required that Farmer Insurance warn their customers that they low ball
victims and they could possibly be sued and hence their credit report affected.
The original name of this web site was "Avoid Farmers
Insurance". To try and prevent my criticism and supress Free Speech
Farmers Insurance acquires the following domains:
(Here is the whois records.)
This is the day that Farmers Insurance begins unleashing a massive attack on
my civil liberties. I was contacted by Arent Fox Attorney
Jason J. Mazur (an attorney out of Washington D.C. who is representing Farmers Insurance) via email. He sends me a Cease and Desist letter with attached
trademark info. I am using my First Amendment Free Speech rights
to criticize a company so they threaten me with trademark infringement! (This is
not unusual for companies to try and bully gripe site owners into shutting down
their web site.)
Shortly after I received this email, I removed the hyperlinks that went to other insurance
companies. (Lesson Learned: Do not put hyperlinks on a gripe site to competitors. Even though the "hyperlinks" were not paid advertisement, Farmers Insurance later accuses me of "commercial use" because the links were to other insurance companies. I never made a penny off this web site, thus it was actually noncommercial. Unfortuneatley a case has not been decided that I know of if a gripe site can contain direct "non paid" hyperlinks to competitors. Because there was no precedence, my case would have been stronger if I had not done this.)
I respond with an email requesting $8000 for what Farmers has put us through. (Lesson Learned: Later in the case Farmers also accuses me of "commercial use" because I asked for this $8K. At this point in the case I did not have a "domain name" with the word "Farmers" in it, if I did I am sure Farmers would have accused me of trying to profit on their trademark in violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Piracy Act (ACPA))
This web site was originally hosted at Michigan State
University. Apparently Farmers Insurance lawyers contacted MSU
probably with an intimidation letter that they may be liable for the
content of my web site on their network. I receive an email
from Randall J. Hall, MSU Network Administrator, demanding that I remove
Farmers Trademarks from this web site or they will disable the web site. I
decided not to get MSU involved or argue with them (about the MSU Network Acceptable Use
Policy) or remove partial content. I moved the site from MSU to a Comcast
account. I felt it was crucial to my free speech message to include the
Farmers name in the metatags (for search purposes) and the parody logo on this
web site for identification.
After receiving the email from MSU requesting I remove the Farmers content, I
was furious with Farmers tactics and attempts to suppress my First Amendment rights.
email them a letter stating I wanted more money due to them trying (via
contacting MSU) to shut down my free speech web site that was critical of
Jason J. Mazur sends
me an email requesting that I sign an attached
agreement. It is worded in a way that Farmers would like to compensate
me and settle this.
An attorney (Richard Ravin) calls Jason on my behalf and asks if Farmers is prepared to
negotiate in good faith towards a settlement that will pay me a fair amount, but
Farmers claimed this was not the case.
A lawsuit is filed against me in United States District Court and I am
served papers. Amongst other things the lawsuit alleges Trademark
Infringement, Unfair Competition, False Designation, Service Mark Dilution.
(United States District Court Eastern District of Washington at Spokane)
Farmers Insurance is now represented by Sheldon H. Klein and Leo M. Loughlin
of Arent Fox out of Washington D.C. Locally they use William D. Symmes
of the firm Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport & Toole. This is just
three of the many lawyers that were used on this case.
We file an Answer
I get an email from the owner of FarmersReallySucks.com that he received a Cease and Desist letter from Farmers Insurance attorneys. Farmers Insurance is using its deep pockets to try and stomp on anyone who criticizes them on the Internet....anyone!
Farmers Insurance wasn't going to hold back anything, they were on a mission to
shut down this Free Speech web site down at any cost and intimidation.
As part of the Discovery process, Farmers Insurance subpoenas my computer hard drives.
The hard drives are
duplicated (done by Paul French, Managing Director of Forensics E-Discovery
Group at NTI Breakwater) and searched for any information pertaining to
Farmers Insurance or anything that was deleted on my hard drives that pertain to Farmers (what an invasion of privacy!). Paul French spends about eight or nine hours in my basement copying hard drives, David Daggett (my attorney) and a Farmer's attorney are present the whole time also to witness the event. Only my
lawyers and the court have a copy of the hard drives. My tax returns were
also subpoenaed later as part of the Discovery process. A Protective Order was
in place for confidentiality of certain Discovery information including the hard
drives and Farmers "trade secrets".
I purchase BoycottFarmersInsurance.com and FarmersInsuranceGroupSucks.com. I had to be creative since Farmers Insurance already purchased AvoidFarmersInsurance.com, AvoidFarmersInsurance.net, and AvoidFarmersInsurance.org back in September of 2004.
This evening I move my whole web site critical of Farmers Insurance from the Comcast servers (the site was on a user account on Comcast.net) to their new home at FarmersInsuranceGroupSucks.com a top level domain. I set BoycottFarmersInsurance.com to forward to FarmersInsuranceGroupSucks.com.
Leo Loughlin of Arent Fox (another lawyer out of Washington D.C) takes my deposition (9am - 2:10pm). Leo looked quite "bewildered" during my deposition when I told him that the web site now resides at FarmersInsuranceGroupSucks.com.
Even though this is a personal issue between myself and Farmers Insurance, Farmers
contacts my employer and notifies them that I am affiliated with the Farmers Insurance Group Sucks web site. Of course this tactic was to get me
fired from my job. I can’t believe how underhanded and deceitful Farmers
Insurance is, well I actually can believe it scum that they are. They have
Filed: DEFENDANT'S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (my name
is replaced with "FarmersInsuranceGroupSucks.com Admin".)
Filed: DEFENDANT’S REPLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (my name
is replaced with "FarmersInsuranceGroupSucks.com Admin".)
HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Scheduled)
In regards to this lawsuit:
"The parties have resolved the Lawsuit to their mutual satisfaction."
To my knowledge Farmers Insurance spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (I estimate between $500K-$900K),
hired many attorneys (at least four or five) and experts in its aggressive no
holds barred colossal attack on my Free Speech rights to shut down this web
site. Farmers Insurance hired one expert, Richard Siegel of Navigant
Consulting Inc., to write a 48-page document of how this web site affected
Farmers Insurance; his hourly rate was $500. I held my ground in this
lawsuit because I felt the need to defend and protect my Free Speech rights and I
also felt the public needed to see this web site and start holding
Farmers Insurance accountable for its actions. Farmers Insurance is an
evil-bad-faith-low-balling, claim denying insurance company that ruins people's lives.
I am reminded of that almost daily by the emails I receive and postings to the
message board on this site others.
We have reason to believe Farmers Insurance has been contacting organizations hoping they will deter us from using their information to criticize Farmers Insurance.
7/18/2006 Cease and Desist from Consumer Reports
10/9/2006 Cease and Desist from Better Business Bureau (BBB)