DENVER — A Colorado federal judge on Jan. 9 determined that a choice-of-law analysis regarding bad faith allegations is not necessary because the plaintiff who is seeking underinsured motorists coverage under her father’s auto policy failed to allege facts in support of a bad faith claim (Kelsi Bowers v. Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Co., No. 18-496, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4040).
By Robert M. Hall
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An insurer owes no duty of good faith and fair dealing to third-party claimants because precedent dictates that the insurer’s obligation to act in good faith extends only to the insured, the Rhode Island Supreme Court said Jan. 15 (Summit Insurance Co. v. Eric Stricklett, et al., No. 2017-185, R.I. Sup., 2019 R.I. LEXIS 12).
FORT WORTH, Texas — An insurer is entitled to summary judgment on an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith claims arising out of a homeowner’s storm damage claim because the insurer fulfilled its contractual obligations when it paid the insured the amount owed following an appraisal proceeding, a Texas federal judge said Jan. 15 (Twanya Braden v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., No 18-592, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7240).
LAS VEGAS — A federal judge in Nevada on Jan. 9 ruled that an insured has sufficiently stated her claim for insurance bad faith against her automobile insurance provider in arguing that the insurer failed to provide sufficient notice as to why it denied her claim for underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) benefits (Haynd [“Claudia”] Kirskey v. GEICO Casualty Co., No. 18-946, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3970).
PHOENIX — Although an insurer has failed to establish that an insured breached the terms of a commercial insurance policy by notifying the insurer of hail damage until almost five years after it occurred, the insured has failed to provide sufficient evidence to support a majority of its arguments in support of its claim for insurance bad faith, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Jan. 22 (The Racquet Club at Scottsdale Ranch Condominium Association Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 17-1215, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100004).
SALT LAKE CITY — Because a clear debate existed regarding whether coverage was owed under an accidental death benefit policy, a beneficiary’s bad faith claim cannot stand, a Utah federal judge said Jan. 22 after determining that the insurer owes no coverage under the policy for the death of a man killed in a standoff with police (Molly Farrand v. American General Life Insurance Co., No. 16-134, D. Utah, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10942).
LAS VEGAS — An insured’s claims for bad faith and unfair trade practices arising out of an auto insurer’s handling of an underinsured motorist claim must be dismissed because the insured failed to offer sufficient facts in support of the claims, a Nevada federal judge said Jan. 22 in dismissing the claims without prejudice (Annette L. Stebbins v. GEICO Insurance Agency, et al., No. 18-590, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9768).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on Jan. 18 agreed to review an appeals court’s ruling that affirmed a trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a homeowners insurer on the insured's breach of contract and bad faith claims arising from hailstorm damage, according to its orders pronounced (Oscar Ortiz v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 17-1048, Texas Sup.).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 18 sua sponte granted a panel rehearing in a dispute over commercial property insurance coverage for an insured’s roof and interior damage following a wind storm (Billy Hamilton v. Northfield Insurance Co., Nos. 17-7049 and 17-7055, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 1615).
AUSTIN, Texas — In its Jan. 18 orders pronounced, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to review an insured’s lawsuit seeking recourse against its insurer pursuant to the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act (TPPCA) after the insured argued that this case is important to the state's jurisprudence because it invites the high court to explain how the principles of USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca apply when an insurer invokes appraisal after the onset of litigation (Barbara Technologies Corporation v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 17-0640, Texas Sup.).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An insured’s negligent misrepresentation claim against an auto insurer will proceed because the insured stated sufficient facts in support of the claim; however, the insured’s claims for breach of contract and bad faith must be dismissed because the insured failed to show that she was deprived of any of the benefits of the insurance contract, a New Mexico federal judge said Jan. 16 (Yvonne Apodaca v. Young America Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-399, D. N.M., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8026).
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal judge on Jan. 7 granted an auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment on counterclaims for breach of contract and bad faith after determining that no coverage is owed for an accident that occurred while an insured flatbed trailer was being unloaded because the injured claimant was not an occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident (Great West Casualty Co. v. Ruben Decker, et al., No. 16-3063, D. Minn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2163).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An insured’s extracontractual claims alleged against a homeowners insurer must be dismissed because the insured failed to provide facts in support of the claims for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, a Texas federal judge said Jan. 3 (Esteban Cruz v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 18-203, S.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 875).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 2 ruled that remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is unnecessary because insureds have improperly joined a claims adjuster as a defendant in the action under state law (Mariano and Joanne Mattei v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Corp., et al., No. 18-4643, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An insurer is not entitled to summary judgment on claims that it breached its contract and acted in bad faith in denying its insureds’ claim for automobile insurance coverage after the theft of their car because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the insureds sought to deceive the insurer during the claim investigation process, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 30 (Arsen Abramyan, et al. v. GEICO Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1069, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218211).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal magistrate judge on Jan. 3 denied an insurer’s motion to bifurcate and stay discovery of an insured’s bad faith claims in an underinsured motorist coverage dispute after determining that bifurcation is not mandatory and will not promote judicial efficiency (Melinda Prescott v. Bristol West Insurance Co., No. 18-0756, D. N.M., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1322).
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma federal judge on Jan. 9 denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s bad faith claim after determining that the insured, seeking coverage for water damage, sufficiently stated facts in support of the bad faith claim (Greater First Deliverance Temple Inc. v. GuideOne Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-1022, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4003).
SCRANTON, Pa. — An insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a suit filed by insureds alleging that their property damage claim for the collapse of their barn was denied in bad faith should be denied because the insureds’ complaint raises questions of motivation and bias, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended Jan. 8 (Melissa Flower, et al. v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 18-1321, M.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4096).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Jan. 7 partly granted a professional liability insurer and a claims investigator’s motion to dismiss an insured’s complaint, denied the motion without prejudice in part and granted the insured leave to amend its complaint in a coverage dispute arising from an administrative services contract the insured entered into with the state of New Jersey (Hammerman & Gainer, LLC v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 18-6729, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2807).