No Damages for Litigating While Black

Losing a Lawsuit is not Evidence of Discrimination

David Webb, proceeding pro se, appealed an order dismissing his complaint. Webb was involved in a car accident. He sued a law firm, firm employees, insurance companies, and other entities related to his legal representation, insurance coverage, and the sale of his vehicle after the accident. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the grounds that Webb’s claimed losses were either frivolous or he failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

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David Q. Webb v. Attorney James P. Hall, et. al., No. 22-3267, United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit (June 2, 2023) the Third Circuit resolved the dispute.

Webb claimed in Counts I and II of his complaint that Phillips, McLaughlin &Hall, P.A. and other defendants discriminated against him based on his race.

Webb is black, and he alleges that the defendants refused to provide him the same legal representation, insurance coverage, or access to his vehicle that is afforded to white citizens. However, Webb alleged no supporting facts. He also asserted that the defendants violated his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments in connection with the seizure and sale of his vehicle and that he was denied his right to equal protection in the handling of his insurance claims. The District Court dismissed these claims on the ground that the defendants are not state actors, as required for a claim under § 1983.

The Third Circuit concluded that Webb has not shown that the District Court erred in dismissing these claims.

The District Court also dismissed Webb’s state law claim for legal malpractice against James Hall (Count VI). Webb alleges that Hall did not convey a settlement offer by National General Insurance Company to him. To the extent the District Court required Webb to aver that an underlying suit against the insurer would have been successful but for Hall’s negligence the loss of a judgment is not the only way to show resulting loss. Webb also claimed intentional infliction of emotional distress by Hall, who allegedly refused to confirm that he had conveyed Webb’s settlement demand to certain insurers and lied about not receiving an offer from National General Insurance Company.

Webb also claimed that defendant Copart, Incorporated intentionally inflicted emotional distress by unlawfully seizing and selling his vehicle after the accident. Webb failed to allege conduct by either defendant that exceeds the bounds of decency and is regarded as intolerable in a civilized community.

The judgment of the District Court was affirmed.


To sue an insurance company, lawyers, and individuals because a law suit resulting from an auto accident did not go as you wished still requires allegations of viable torts and evidence supporting the claim. Just because the plaintiff was black and thought he was being discriminated against still needed evidence. Plaintiff’s suit failed because he had no evidence to support his claims.

(c) 2023 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.

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About Barry Zalma

An insurance coverage and claims handling author, consultant and expert witness with more than 48 years of practical and court room experience.
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