TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington appeals panel on Feb. 19 held that a homeowners insurer’s failure to evaluate an underlying complaint, the homeowners insurance policy and applicable law to determine whether coverage was triggered “was unreasonable and frivolous” and, therefore, its refusal to defend its insured constituted bad faith and violated Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) and Consumer Protection Act (CPA), reversing and remanding the lower court’s ruling in favor of the insurer (John William Webb, et al. v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, No. 52210-1-II, Wash. App., Div. 2, 2020 Wash. App. LEXIS 375).
LOS ANGELES — A provider of mental health and alcoholism and substance abuse treatment services sued several insurers in California federal court on Feb. 19, alleging that the insureds breached their contracts with their insureds and acted in bad faith in failing to pay necessary assigned benefits to the provider for covered services rendered (12 South LLC v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 20-1634, C.D. Calif.).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on Feb. 18 denied summary judgment to an insurer on a homeowner’s breach of contract and bad faith claims arising out of denied coverage for mold in her home because there is a genuine issue of material fact (Heather Evans v. Auto Club Property Casualty Insurance Co., No. 18-486, W.D. Ky., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27153).
SCRANTON, Pa. — Breach of contract and bad faith claims arising out of a water and mold damage coverage dispute are barred by a two-year suit limitation provision in a homeowners policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Feb. 13 in granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss (Carey Mazzoni v. The Travelers Home and Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-2169, M.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25513).
RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on Feb. 13 determined that an informed ruling in a breach of contract and bad faith suit could not be made on an insured’s motion to remand and an insurer’s motion to dismiss until after the insured files an amended complaint to add additional facts regarding the relationship between the auto insurer and its parent company (Ryan E. Uhlmeyer v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-438, D. Nev., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25538).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Feb. 6 denied an insured’s motion for class certification of a breach of contract and bad faith suit filed against an auto insurer that terminated the insured’s personal injury protection (PIP) benefits after determining that a class action would not be an appropriate method to resolve claims arising out of the termination of PIP benefits certification (Mikeshia Morrison, et al. v. Esurance Insurance Co., No. 18-1316, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20555).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A homeowners insurer did not act in bad faith in denying coverage for the replacement of electrical wiring and a kitchen floor in the insured’s home incurred after a tree fell on the home during a storm because the homeowner failed to show that the insurer’s denial involved any conscious wrongdoing, an Indiana federal judge said Feb. 12 (Daniel Grizzle v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 18-535, N.D. Ind., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25130).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana trial court erred in holding that an insurer does not owe a duty of good faith and fair dealing to an insured who is not the policyholder because the insured has sufficiently shown that such a duty exists under the three-prong test established by the Indiana Supreme Court in Webb v. Jarvis, an Indiana Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 12 (Monika Schmidt v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 19A-CT-1489, Ind. App., 2020 Ind. App. LEXIS 44).
TACOMA, Wash. — A breach of contract and bad faith suit filed by homeowners whose home was damaged by a fire must be remanded to Washington state court because the homeowners allege a viable common-law bad faith claim against the insurer’s claims adjuster and its employee, a Washington federal judge said Feb. 11 after determining that complete diversity of citizenship does not exist (Brandon Leonard, et al. v. First American Property & Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-6089, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23680).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on Feb. 10 denied an auto insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment on a bad faith claim alleged by an insured after determining that the insurer failed to meet its burden of proving that there are no genuine issues of material fact with respect to the bad faith claim (Carlos Baldridge v. Geico Insurance Co., No. 18-1407, W.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22311).
SALT LAKE CITY — A bad faith claim alleged against an auto insurer cannot proceed because the insured failed to offer any evidence that he was damaged as a result of the insurer’s alleged breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, a Utah federal judge said Feb. 10 in granting the auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment (Daniel Christensen v. Mid-Century Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-164, D. Utah, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23511).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 7 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit brought by a condominium association insured over hailstorm damage, finding that the insured’s violation of the policy’s fraud clauses and the resulting voidance of the policy preceded any alleged breach by the insurer (Sunflower Condominium Association, Inc. v. Owners Insurance Company, No. 18-1478, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 3806).
LOS ANGELES — Plaintiffs in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit forfeited their right to benefits under the terms of a homeowners insurance policy because they were required, but declined to submit to evaluations under oath (EUOs) as part of an investigation into a claim for benefits under the policy after a home fire, a California appeals panel ruled Jan. 29 (Luis Estrada, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. B293962, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 648).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Feb. 3 ruled that a beneficiary is not entitled to conduct discovery to determine whether an insurer acted in bad faith when it decided not to apply statutes under the California Insurance Code to a pair of life insurance policies it deemed had lapsed (Sarah Aislinn Flynn Thomas v. State Farm Insurance Co., No. 18-728, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17147).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on Jan. 24 granted an insurer’s motion to bifurcate a plaintiff’s underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) claim in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit from her bad faith claims at trial, ruling that the parties then must try the plaintiffs’ bad faith claims before the same jury (Anastasia Tanner v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 19-0253, D. Alaska, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11767).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 5 affirmed a district court’s dismissal of an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith suit against a life insurer after determining that the life insurer did not breach its contract by increasing the policy premiums (William Hancock Sr. v. Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-1374, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 3482).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on Feb. 3 determined that questions of fact exist as to whether a disability claimant is able to perform the material duties of a clinical anesthesiologist and whether the disability insurer’s handling of the disability claim constitutes bad faith (Thomas Scott Wood v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 17-2330, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19057).
DENVER — A Colorado federal judge on Jan. 23 granted an auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment on an insured’s bad faith claims after determining that the insured failed to provide facts in support of her contention that the insurer acted unreasonably in handling her claim for underinsured motorist benefits (Bethany Anderson v. American National Property and Casualty Co., No. 17-3016, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12440).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York federal magistrate judge on Jan. 30 recommended that an insured homeowners’ breach of contract and bad faith complaint be dismissed because the insured failed to file suit within the policy’s two-year limitations provision (Shahzad Nawaz v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 19-1727, E.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16361).
BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on Jan. 28 ordered an insurer to turn over reinsurance information he found to be relevant to an insured’s bad faith coverage dispute over property damage sustained from Hurricane Maria (Lamar Advertising Co. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 18-1060, M.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13891).