Monday, March 27, 2017

No Fiduciary Duty Owed to Insured By Carrier in UM/UIM Context

In a recent decision in the case of Meyers v. Protective Ins. Co., No. 16-1821 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 27, 2017 Caputo, J.), Judge A. Richard Caputo of the Federal Middle District Court of Pennsylvania struck all references in the Plaintiff’s post-Koken Complaint to allegations of a breach of a fiduciary duty. 

The court ruled that, “Under Pennsylvania law, an insurer owes a duty of good faith and fair dealings toward their insureds.  It is well-established, however, that there is no fiduciary duty owed to an insured in the context of an underinsured/uninsured motorist benefits” claim.  

The court also dismissed the Plaintiff’s bad faith claims.   The court found that the allegations of failure to communicate and ignoring communications were unsupported in the Complaint.   Judge Caputo also noted that there was no evidence to support allegations that the carrier had not fairly and objectively evaluated the claim, or that the settlement offer was so inadequate as to constitute bad faith.   

Judge A. Richard Caputo
M.D. Pa.
Judge Caputo additionally noted that there was no evidence to support an allegation of the carrier’s request for four (4) medical examinations was made in bad faith.

Although the bad faith claims were dismissed, the Plaintiff was granted leave to amend if sufficient supporting facts could be pled.  

Anyone wishing to review this case online, may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Lee Applebaum of the Philadelphia law firm of Fineman Krekstein & Harris.   Be sure to check out Attorney Applebaum’s Pennsylvania and New Jersey Insurance Bad Faith Case Law Blog HERE.


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