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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
April 23, 2019

Pennsylvania Insurer Protected From Unfounded Bad Faith Allegation, Requiring a “Clear Conviction” of Insurer’s Bad Faith

The Western District of Pennsylvania held that an insurer did not act in bad faith but was well within its rights in denying an insured’s claim and voiding his policy.  The insured’s material misrepresentations caused the court to find that no reasonable jury could conclude that the insurer acted in bad faith in denying the claim. Mr. Felix submitted a homeowner’s insurance claim in excess of $1 million after a fire ravaged his home. The insurer assigned the case to a special investigations unit after identifying several “red flags” suggesting fraud. 

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Bad Faith Blog
July 21, 2016

Insured’s Repeated Refusal to Attend a Reasonably Requested IME Defeated His Bad Faith Claim

Summary: The insured filed suit against his insurer for breach of contract and bad faith after repeatedly failing to attend an independent medical examination (“IME”) scheduled by his insurer. On appeal, the Third Circuit held the insured materially breached the insurance contract by failing to appear for the IME. The court further held the insurer had a reasonable basis for the IME and its subsequent denial of the claim. Because there was a reasonable basis for its actions, the insurer did not commit bad faith.

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Bad Faith Blog
August 18, 2014

Montana Supreme Court Rules State Farm Did Not Act in Bad Faith Because it had a Reasonable Basis to Refuse Settlement Offer

Summary: Automobile insurer filed suit seeking declaratory judgment that “Limits of Liability” for “Each Person” limited coverage on derivative claims brought by passenger’s daughter for passenger’s death as a result of a car accident caused by insured’s negligence to $50,000 limit that had already been paid to passenger’s estate. The insured and personal representative of passenger’s estate, who was also acting as a conservator for the daughter, filed a counterclaim for breach of policy and bad faith.The District Court ruled that the insurer had correctly interpreted “Each Person” limit of liability. However, the Montana Supreme Court reversed and remanded (Freyer I). On remand, the insured and personal representative/conservator amended the counterclaim adding a claim for violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA) and sought enforcement against insurer of a stipulated judgment of $2.7 million in the suit brought by personal representative/conservator against insured for wrongful death. The District Court entered summary judgment in insurer’s favor on all claims. However, the Supreme Court held that the insurer’s reliance on precedent at time of claim was not an affirmative defense to a claim for policy breach, but the stipulated judgment between the insured and the personal representative/conservator was not an appropriate measure of consequential damages to passenger’s daughter for insurer’s breach of duty to indemnify. Moreover, insurer did not act in bad faith or breach its duty of good faith and fair dealing by refusing the settlement offer on daughter’s claims. Further, insurer did not misrepresent the scope of coverage on daughter’s claim under the provision for “Each Person” Limit of Liability under the UTPA. (Freyer II)

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