Sunday, February 10, 2013

Summary Judgment Granted on Bad Faith Claim Under Homeowner's Policy

The United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently issued a decision granting in part and denied in part an insurance company’s Motion for Summary Judgment in the bad faith case of Dixon v. Allstate Ins. Co., PICS Case No. 13-0136 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 21, 2012 Rice, J.).  

The matter arose out of an insurance dispute arising from storm water damage.   The Plaintiff sued the Defendant insurance company for bad faith, fraud, and breach of contract.  

The Plaintiff sued Allstate for allegedly acting in bad faith by refusing to pay Plaintiff’s full claim for benefits.   However, the court found that Allstate’s reliance upon estimates provided by an independent adjuster assigned by Allstate was not unreasonable or unfounded.    

The court also noted that the Plaintiff’s allegations of bad faith based upon the alleged incompetency of the adjuster would, at best, reflect allegations of mere negligence or bad judgment, neither of which was sufficient to support a claim for bad faith in the sense of any alleged dishonest purpose, ill will, or disregard for the truth by Allstate.  

Ultimately, the court granted the carrier’s Motion for Summary Judgment on the Plaintiff’s claims for bad faith and fraud.  The court denied the carrier’s motion with respect to the Plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract.   

Anyone desiring a copy of this decision may contact the Pennsylvania Law Weekly’s Pennsylvania Instant Case Service at 1-800-276-7427 and providing the above-referenced PICS Case Number and paying a small fee.

Source:  “Digest of Recent Opinions,” Pennsylvania Law Weekly 30 PLW 103 (Jan. 29, 2013).  

The Dixon v. Allstate Ins. Co. Opinion may also be viewed online HERE.

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