Summary: American Family insured William and Joyce Davis, Jennifer Hansen’s parents, and named the Davises on the declarations sheet. Hansen was injured in an auto accident, settled her claim, and presented an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim to American Family. American Family denied coverage and Hansen filed claims for breach of contract, common law bad faith, and statutory bad faith. After the breach of contract claim was resolved, the common law and statutory bad faith claims were tried. A verdict for American Family was returned on the common law bad faith, but a verdict was returned for Hansen on the statutory bad faith claim finding American Family “had delayed or denied payment without a reasonable basis,” and further finding the damages were $0 for the delayed or denied payment. The trial court awarded Hansen her attorney fees, costs, and entered a $150,000 penalty, two times the covered UIM benefit. The Court of Appeals affirmed, but the Supreme Court of Colorado reversed.
We cover current issues, highlights and best practices exclusively on claims of bad faith and extra contractual damages.
Summary: Green Earth, the operator of a Colorado Springs retail medical marijuana business and growing facility submitted a claim to its insurer for a wildfire-caused smoke and ash damage and a separate break in and theft. Atain denied the claims on multiple grounds which caused Green Earth to sue Atain for breach of contract and statutory claims for bad faith and unreasonable delays in payment. The District Court was confronted with numerous motions addressing what was and was not covered under the policy issued to Green Earth and whether Green Earth’s bad faith and delayed payment claims were sustainable. After reviewing the coverage issues at length, the Court granted summary judgment to Atain on Green Earth’s bad faith and unreasonable delay in payment claims regarding the theft, but questions of fact regarding parts of the wildfire claim and Green Earth’s related statutory claims for bad faith and unreasonable delay in payment precluded summary judgment.
Summary: A serious injury construction accident resulted in the general contractor seeking indemnity from its subcontractor, Stresscon. When Travelers did not settle the general contractor’s claim, Stresscon settled and then sued Travelers for bad faith. The Colorado trial court entered judgment on the bad faith jury verdict against Travelers, the Court of Appeals affirmed, but the Supreme Court of Colorado reversed and vacated the judgment.
Summary: Williams was injured in a car accident, settled with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the policy limits of $25,000, and then made a claim against her own insurance policy under the underinsured motorist (UIM) provision. Her Owners Insurance Company (“Owners”) policy provided $100,000 of UIM coverage. Claiming medical expenses in excess of $50,000 and lost wages in excess of $60,000, she demanded the policy limits, but her demand was rejected. Williams then filed suit against Owners alleging breach of contract and both common law and statutory bad faith delay in processing her claim. The district court granted Owners’ motion for summary judgment after finding that Williams failed to produce evidence showing the unreasonableness of Owners’ conduct. On Williams’s appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit affirmed on all counts.
Summary: American Standard’s overall good faith handling of passenger Wahlert’s UIM claim entitled it to summary judgment on the common law bad faith claim and most statutory bad faith contentions. However, its delay in offering to settle for its case valuation amount presented triable issues for a jury.