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Are You in Good Hands? Son of MLB Hall of Famer's Legal Battle with Allstate Insurance.

Roberto Clemente is known for his legendary career in Major League Baseball. 18 seasons as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a Hall of Famer. His name is one of the most recognizable in baseball, so when it is headlining a story, it’s imperative to dive into it.

Case Citation and Parties of the Case:

Citation: Clemente v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 233423

Plaintiffs: Roberto Clemente Jr. Family Agency LLC, its owners (Roberto Clemente Jr., Kimberly Dschuchan, Kailee Clemente), and a non-owner Ryan Norton

Defendants: Allstate Insurance, Tomaino Insurance, and John Tomaino


Clemente’s son, Roberto Clemente Jr. is married to Kailee Clemente, and Kailee’s mother, Kimberly Dschuhan, was an insurance agent for Nationwide Insurance. While at Nationwide. Ms. Dschuhan wanted to buy a book of business from an existing agency that would allow her to open up an agency of her own; The Roberto Clemente Jr. Family Agency, LLC (hereinafter “Clemente Agency”). Ms. Dschuhan began negotiations with an Allstate agent, Daniel Cone. Mr. Cone wrote a letter of intent in which he agreed to sell his book of business [1] to the Clemente agency on the contingency that Allstate approved the transaction and the Clemente Agency became affiliated with Allstate.

Allstate and the Clemente Agency had a myriad of issues along this process including “a constant moving of goalposts by Allstate” in regard to the opening of the agency, Allstate’s refusal to provide signage for the official name “Roberto Clemente Jr. Family Agency, LLC”. The plaintiffs also alleged friction between other Allstate agencies and the Clemente Agency as a result of the Clemente Agency having a close affiliation with “one of the most beloved Black athletes of all time” and therefore a competitive advantage with minority customers.

As a result, Allstate terminated its agreement with the Clemente Agency “for fraud.” [2] Allstate alleges that the Clemente Agency's fraud was related to the practice of applying a widow discount to certain policies. The Clemente Agency denies these allegations and claims they relied on Mr. Tomaino when pertaining to widow discounts.

Due to the breakdown of the relationship between Allstate and the Clemente Agency, the Clemente Agency attempted to sell their book of business, pending Allstate’s approval. After failing to find a buyer by the deadline, the Clemente Agency claimed that Allstate had made the sale impossible by blocking at least one potential sale.


That’s a lot of background, so what’s the complaint? The Plaintiffs filed a Charge of Discrimination [3] with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (hereinafter “EEOC”) alleging Allstate terminated the agreement and took other actions based on the racial minority ownership of the agency and the agency’s affiliation with a famous Afro-Hispanis baseball player. The EEOC dismissed the case as untimely filed and the Plaintiffs went to court for redress. Plaintiffs claim the Defendants violated 42 U.S. Code §1981: Equal rights under the law. Both Tomaino and Allstate filed a motion to dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6) that the Plaintiffs failed to state a claim for relief.

Legal Standard:

The elements of a §1981 claim are that the plaintiff is a member of a protected class (race), there was intent to discriminate based on race, discrimination concerns the right to make and enforce contracts, and but-for causation. [4]

There’s a lot of legalese when it comes to filing pleadings so I’m going to do my best to simplify it. For those interested, FRCP 12(b)(6) and FRCP 8 provide a more in-depth view of the process. A complaint must allege a plausible level that the defendant committed the alleged act and the plaintiff needs to allege facts that would raise “a reasonable expectation that discovery will uncover proof of her claims”. [5]


The Court starts by denying Allstate's motion to dismiss and dismissing the §1981 claim against Tomaino, but the §1981 claim against Allstate is allowed. The Plaintiffs' 1981 claim is not time-barred and although Ms. Dschuhan, Ms. Clemente, and Mr. Norton are white they are not precluded from bringing a §1981 claim. [6] The court acknowledges that the Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged discrimination as to contractual rights relating to Allstate and that they have plausibly alleged causation.

Final Result:

  1. The Court granted in part and denied in part Allstate’s Motion to Dismiss the discrimination claim and that the claim cannot include actions predating the contract.

  2. The Court dismissed the Plaintiff's claim that Allstate and Tomaino defrauded the Clemente Agency by misrepresenting discount techniques to prepare a reason to terminate the agreement.

  3. The Court dismissed the Plaintiffs’ conversion claim [7] that the Tomaino Agency unlawfully acquired policy from the book of business before the sale deadline.

  4. The Court dismissed the Plaintiff's claim that Allstate and Tomaino were unjustly enriched. [8].

  5. The Court dismissed the claim that Tomaino interfered with the purchase of the book of business and the agreement between Allstate and the Clemente Agency, but did not dismiss the claim that Allstate interfered with the purchase of the book of business.

The Court ordered that the Plaintiffs can file an amended complaint on or before January 11. I will update this article if/when that complaint is amended and the result.

Evan Mattel is a 2L at Hofstra Law, Vice President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, and Representative for the New York State Bar Association's Entertainment and Sports Law Section. He is also the Chief Editor for the legal analysis section of Conduct Detrimental. He can be found at @Evan_Mattel21 on Twitter or on Linkedin.


[1] A book of business is a list of clients

[2] Allstate had the ability to terminate the agreement immediately after providing written notice for cause, which includes fraud.

[3] A Charge of Discrimination is a form asserting that an organization engaged in employment discrimination

[4] But-for causation is “but-for X, Y would have happened”

[5]Connolly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 788-89 (3d Cir. 2016).

[6] Being discriminated against because of association with someone of another race is protected by §1981.

[7] Conversion happens when a person intentionally and without authority takes control over the property of another and obstructs their ability to posses it.

[8] Unjust enrichment happens when a party receives a benefit without giving proper restitution required by law.

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