Defense Verdict in Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Case
Obtained a defense verdict after a six-day bench trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The plaintiff claimed that our insurance carrier client acted in bad faith in the handling of his underinsured motorist claim that arose from a 2009 motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff alleged that our client presented low-ball settlement offers over an 18-month period and disregarded medical evidence establishing that his injury was causally related to the accident. The plaintiff also claimed that the insurance carrier attempted to conceal an unfavorable IME report. Ultimately, the carrier did offer the UIM policy limits after it was satisfied that the plaintiff’s UIM claims justified that amount. However, the plaintiff’s attorneys continued with their claims of bad faith. Witnesses for the defense included the front line adjuster, her supervisor, the home office claims examiner, and two local defense attorneys who defended the carrier in the underlying UIM suit before it settled. The plaintiff’s demand remained at $1.3 million throughout the trial. No offers were made. The judge issued a 23-page opinion finding that the plaintiff failed to establish bad faith by clear and convincing evidence under the bad faith standard recently adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance.