Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Eastern Federal District Court Denies Motion to Bifurcate Bad Faith Claim from UIM Breach of Contract Claim

In the case of Jones-Silverman v. Allstate Fire & Casualty Ins. Co., No. 17-1711 (E.D. Pa. July 31, 2017 Baylson, J.), the Eastern District Federal Court denied a carrier’s Motion to Bifurcate a Plaintiff’s UIM breach of contract and bad faith claims. 

The court found that the required evidence of each of the claims overlapped such that a bifurcation would amount to a waste of judicial resources.  

The court also noted that, even if the parties settled their breach of contract claim, the insured could still pursue a bad faith claim based upon a theory of undue delay and claims handling.   Accordingly, the court found that the potential resolution of the breach of contract claim did not necessarily render a bad faith claim moot.  

The court otherwise ruled that it was equipped to address any issues of prejudice to the UIM carrier that may arise through the normal rules and procedures of litigation if the case was not bifurcated and a single trial was allowed.  

 As such, the court denied the carrier’s Motion for Bifurcation.

Anyone wishing to read this case online may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Lee Applebaum of the Philadelphia law firm of Fineman, Krekstein & Harris.  Attorney Applebaum is the creator and writer of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Insurance Bad Faith Case Law Blog.   

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