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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
November 5, 2019

Georgia Court of Appeals Reiterates that a Verdict Significantly Exceeding the Policy Limits, Alone, Is Not Bad Faith Conduct

The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for GEICO and held that there was no evidence of a frivolous and unfounded refusal to pay its insured’s demand for the $25,000.00 limit of her underinsured motorist policy, which was needed to support a bad faith claim brought under Ga. Code Ann. § 33-7-11(j) (failure to pay within sixty days of demand). The court found that GEICO timely and thoroughly investigated the claim upon receipt of the demand letter. A later jury verdict against the underinsured motorist greatly exceeding the $25,000.00 policy limit alone was insufficient to establish that an insurer acted in bad faith.

Bad Faith Blog
October 8, 2017

Washington Court of Appeals Finds No Preclusion for Bad Faith Claim After Resolution of UIM Benefits Action

Anastasia Fortson-Kemmerer (“Plaintiff”) sued Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”) to recover for bad faith and violation of the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”) for its actions when investigating her underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage claim. Allstate moved for summary judgment on the affirmative defense that Plaintiff’s previous action to enforce her UIM policy provisions operated as res judicata and barred her bad faith claim. The trial court granted summary judgment and Plaintiff appealed. The Washington Court of Appeals reversed, stating Allstate failed to demonstrate the operation of res judicata.

Bad Faith Blog
October 13, 2016

Wisconsin Supreme Court: When Subrogating Insurers Aren’t Required to Make Insureds Whole

Summary: Dufour, a motorcyclist insured by Dairyland Insurance Company, was seriously injured while riding his motorcycle, collected full policy limits from the tortfeasor for his bodily injuries and full property damage (PD) and underinsured (UIM) bodily injury (BI) limits from Dairyland, and then sued Dairyland for bad faith when it refused to pay him the property damage subrogation funds Dairyland collected from the tortfeasor’s insurer. The trial court granted summary judgment to Dufour on his breach of contract claim, but in favor of Dairyland on the bad faith claim finding it had not unreasonably withheld the funds from Dufour. The Court of Appeals affirmed the breach of contract award, but reversed on the bad faith claim holding Dairyland had acted in bad faith due to its made whole doctrine obligations and remanded to determine the bad faith damages. The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed on both counts.

Bad Faith Blog
October 8, 2012

Paying Just 10% of UIM Limits and Less Than 25% of Medical Expenses After a Head-On, Death-Causing Collision?  No Bifurcation for You

Summary: A head-on collision between two vehicles killed all three occupants of the at-fault vehicle and severe injuries to Steven Bass (Bass), the sole occupant of the other vehicle, which was owned by Bass’ employer and covered by $1 million in underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits through Farm Bureau Financial Services (Farm Bureau). After receiving $20,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurer under a $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident policy, Bass’ attorney demanded Farm Bureau’s UIM policy limits of $1,000,000.

Bad Faith Blog
December 27, 2011

Florida Appeals Court Refuses to Enter a Conditional Judgment Awarding Attorney’s Fees

Summary: Insured motorist and his wife brought action against their insurer seeking underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits. After the trial court entered judgment in favor of the insureds, the insurer appealed. The appeals court affirmed but denied the insureds’ motion for appellate attorney’s fees. The appeals court, sitting en banc, granted the insureds’ motion for re-hearing on the denial of appellate attorney’s fees. The court of appeals held it could not enter a conditional judgment awarding appellate attorney’s fees contingent on the insureds subsequently prevailing on a bad faith claim.