Mitchell v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 17-1806, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55613, at *9 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 29, 2019)

Insurer entitled to summary judgment on bad-faith claim unless insured can establish a “nexus” between damages claimed and the alleged cause of loss.

The pro se plaintiff filed suit over a denial of benefits under her homeowner’s policy. The plaintiff was adamant that a piece of her backyard tree was struck by lightning, fell and damaged copper pipes encased in concrete underneath the home. She alleged the insurer acted in bad faith pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S.A. 8371 by denying the claim without a reasonable basis and failing to conduct a proper investigation. In granting summary judgment in favor of the insurer, Judge Kearney placed a burden on a bad-faith plaintiff to prove a “nexus” between the damages claimed and their alleged cause. The court also found that evidence of consistent communication with the insured throughout the claims process, efforts to physically inspect the property, and other affirmative steps to further investigate the facts were sufficient to establish a good-faith investigation.


Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2019

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