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Bad Faith Blog

We cover current issues, highlights and best practices exclusively on claims of bad faith and extra contractual damages.

Bad Faith Blog
October 22, 2019

Seventh Circuit finds a “mere possibility of liability” against an insured is insufficient for an insurer’s duty to settle to arise under Illinois law.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the mere possibility of liability against an insured is insufficient for an insurer’s duty to settle to arise under Illinois law.

American Physicians Assurance Corporation, Inc. and American Physicians Capital, Inc. (“APA”) issued a medical malpractice insurance policy to Surgery Center at 900 North Michigan Avenue, LLC (“Surgery Center”) with a $1 million limit of liability. APA defended Surgery Center for medical malpractice claims brought against it by Gwendolyn Tate for complications resulting from a surgery performed by Dr. Harrith Hasson at the Surgery Center. Dr. Hasson was an outside physician with privileges at Surgery Center but not its employee.

Bad Faith Blog
February 26, 2018

Kentucky High Court Upholds Bad Faith Determination Despite Reservation of Rights Defense and Filing Declaratory Judgment

James Demetre carried liability insurance on his vacant lot, which was previously a gas station. Demetre was notified that a family occupying a nearby residence was bringing environmental claims against him stemming from the alleged migration of petroleum from his property. Indiana Insurance Company provided a defense under a reservation of rights, sought declaratory judgment on its coverage dispute, and ultimately indemnified Demetre in relation to the final settlement. Nevertheless, Demetre sued Indiana Insurance for bad faith breach of his insurance contract. These claims went to trial and Demetre was awarded $925,000 in emotional distress damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. The resultant question is: how is such a result possible?

Bad Faith Blog
October 23, 2017

Missouri Appellate Court Holds Rental Car Company Is Not an Insurer and Not Liable for Bad Faith

Summary: A motorist, who was injured in an automobile accident with a rental car, brought a garnishment action against the renter and car rental company, seeking the $25,000.00 limit provided by the Motor Vehicle Responsibility Law (MVFRL). The renter filed a cross-claim against the car rental company alleging bad faith failure to settle and breach of contractual duty to defend. The trial court granted summary judgment for the car rental company and the renter appealed. On appeal, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, found the rental car company did not have a duty to defend the renter and the rental car company did not commit bad faith in refusing to settle.

Bad Faith Blog
March 9, 2012

Eighth Circuit Finds No Bad Faith by Primary Insurer Under Missouri Law in Insurer Versus Insurer Dispute

Summary: This case is a dispute between an excess and primary insurer, both of whom insured a trucking company whose tractor trailer was involved in a fatal traffic accident. The parties injured in the accident sued the trucking company and obtained a jury verdict, which exposed the excess carrier to a $17 million liability. The excess carrier sued the primary carrier alleging bad faith for failing to settle the underlying claim within the policy limits. The district court granted primary insurer’s Motion for Summary Judgment and the Eighth Circuit affirmed.

Bad Faith Blog
March 5, 2012

What a Mess!—Insurer Has No Right to Jury Trial to Determine if Settlement Between Its Insured and Claimant Was Reasonable

Summary: After the insurer denied a settlement demand for the $2 million policy limits, the insured, a plumbing contractor, and the land owner plaintiff (“claimant”) reached a settlement agreement for approximately $3.75 million. The trial court judge determined that the settlement was reasonable. The insurer appealed arguing it had a right to a jury trial on the issues of reasonableness and that the reasonableness finding was supported by substantial evidence. The appeals court affirmed.