American Homeland Title Agency, Inc. v. Robertson, No. 18-3293 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
American, a Cincinnati-based title insurance company, is owned by attorneys Yonas and Rink. The Indiana Department of Insurance randomly audited American and found hundreds of code violations, none of which American denies. Examiners recommended a fine of $70,082 plus $42,202 in consumer reimbursements after deviating upward from the guidelines recommendation. After negotiation, the examiners refused to adjust the fines and added a new sanction: the owners would lose their licenses to do business in Indiana. The Department’s attorney informed American that it could seek administrative review but could face the maximum fine of $9.5 million. American agreed to the recommended sanctions, “voluntarily and freely waive[d] the right to judicial review,” and paid the fees. Yonas and Rink gave up their licenses. Months later, American sued the Department’s Commissioner, Robertson, alleging that the Department imposed higher penalties because American is based in Ohio, not Indiana. American’s equal-protection case rested on expert testimony based on a statistical analysis that found that when the Department audits out-of-state companies, it tends to deviate more from its guidelines than when it audits in-state companies; a comment by a Department examiner made during a recorded phone call; and that Robertson was unable to say definitively during his deposition that no one in his department was motivated by in-state bias. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Robertson without reaching the equal protection claim. American offered no meaningful reason to ignore the agreed order.