Friday, January 23, 2015

Eastern District Federal Court Dismisses Auto Insurance Bad Faith Claims

In its recent memorandum decision in the case of Mozzo v. Progressive Ins. Co., No. 14-5752 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 5, 2015 Buckwalter, S.J.) (mem.), the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed a plaintiff’s auto insurance bad faith claims and granted the right to amend but stayed any bad faith discovery in the meantime.

In Mozzo, the Plaintiff insured sued his auto carrier alleging bad faith and breach of contract claims.

The court ruled that mere allegations that Plaintiff insured complied with investigation requests, that the auto insurer arbitrarily and capriciously failed to honor its contractual obligations, that plaintiff sustained and continues to sustain damages, and that the auto insurer has acted in bad faith, are insufficient to support a bad faith claim under Pennsylvania law.  The court more specifically found that the plaintiff failed to set forth cogent facts as to the Defendant auto insurer's actions, let alone any factual support of alleged acts or omissions from which the court could even infer a proper bad faith claim.

As such, the Plaintiff's bad faith claim was dismissed.  However, the court did grant the Plaintiff leave to amend.

Moreover, the court ruled that, given that the bad faith claim was dismissed, the request for attorney fees is not available and, as such, that claim was also dismissed.

Last but not least, the court further noted that the Plaintiff was not entitled to bad faith discovery until he sets forth some facts upon which the court could plausibly infer the existence of a bad faith claim.


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