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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 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 1, 2017

Alabama Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal of Bad Faith Claim Dismissal

Summary: Lamar Ragland sued State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) for State Farm’s alleged bad faith in failing to pay an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim. Ragland was injured in an automobile accident by an underinsured motorist in January 2012 and claimed that he was entitled to UIM benefits from State Farm for the same amount he could collect from the motorist. Two separate complaints were filed and then consolidated. The circuit court dismissed the bad faith claim. Ragland appealed. The Supreme Court of Alabama remanded to the circuit court which ruled the bad faith claim was final and appealable pursuant to Rule 54(b). State Farm moved to dismiss, claiming the circuit court had exceeded its discretion. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed Ragland’s appeal as taken from a nonfinal judgment.

Bad Faith Blog
July 23, 2017

Ninth Circuit Finds California’s Genuine Dispute Doctrine Does Not Bar Bad Faith Judgment Against Excess

LMA North America, Inc. (LMA) sued National Union for breach of contract and bad faith after defendant refused to either contribute $3.75 million towards the settlement of counter-claims asserted by LMA’S competitor, Ambu, or take over the defense of the trade disparagement and false advertising claims. After settling the underlying claims above the $1M primary coverage, LMA asked National Union to pay the balance of the settlement or assume the defense. After the settlement was finalized, National Union agreed to assume the defense. LMA claimed in the coverage and bad faith case that National Union acted in bad faith. The district court denied National Union’s motion for summary judgment and entered judgment for LMA on the jury’s verdict in favor of LMA on the breach of contract and bad faith claims while rejecting the punitive damages claim. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the contract and bad faith judgments.