USDC-MA | Insurance Company Dismissal in Civil Rights Violation Claim


Attorneys Michael Melville and Corey Lavallee obtained dismissal from the United States District Court – District of Massachusetts on behalf of an insurance company and its adjuster in a lawsuit arising from alleged injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Notable was that the claims against the insurance company and its adjuster included alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), 42 U.S.C. § 1986, and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.

The plaintiff alleged that the insurer and its adjuster violated 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), claiming that they, motivated by racial animus, conspired with one another (and the insured driver) to deprive the plaintiff of the proceeds of the insurance claim in violation of her constitutional rights to equal protection, due process, and quiet enjoyment of her property interest in the claim. The federal district court held that the complaint was devoid of facts indicting a discriminatory conspiracy.  The federal district court further held that the allegations did not support the state of mind element of a § 1985(3) violation.  Finally, the federal district court held that the claimed violations of her rights to due process, equal protection, and quiet enjoyment of her property, were protected only against state action not against private actions. Accordingly, claims made pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) were required to be dismissed.  The claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1986 was dismissed since it must be grounded in a violation of Section 1985.

The federal district court also dismissed the claims against the insurance company and its adjuster pursuant to the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act for not alleging any threat, act of intimidation, or coercion sufficient to support a claim under that state statute.

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