Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Lessons in Bad Faith Complaint Drafting From Several Federal Middle District Court Decisions

As reported in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Insurance Bad Faith Case Law blog by Attorney Lee Applebaum, there were three (3) recent Federal Middle District Court of Pennsylvania Opinions handed down in December, 2018 in which the court found that the Plaintiff’s bad faith pleadings constituted conclusory allegations that had to be dismissed under the standard of review pertinent to validity of federal Complaints.  However, the Plaintiffs in all of these cases were permitted to file Amended Complaints.  All of the cases involved UIM claims.  

These cases include the following (click on the case name to be linked to the actual opinion):

Clark v. Liberty Insurance Company, No. 3:18-cv-01925 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 10, 2018 Caputo, J.) (an insured’s belief about a claims value that differs from the carrier’s evaluation is not enough to state a claim without actual facts objective supporting that belief; the failure to make a settlement offer after receiving documents is not bad faith without additional factual support such as facts pertaining to the complexity of the claim and the time that past between the date the information was supplied and the date that the Complaint was filed; the failure to submit to policy limits demands alone is not bad faith)

Moran v. USAA, No. 3:18-cv-02085 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 12, 2018 Caputo, J.) (general pleading delays on the part of the carrier in various respects and failure to act in good faith dismiss due to failure to plead supporting factual allegations). 

Winslow v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., No. 3:18-cv-01094 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 12, 2018 Rambo, J.) (conclusory allegations of bad faith lead to dismissal of Plaintiff’s Complaint on claims of bad faith pertaining to delays by the carrier and failures to make reasonable settlement offers or to pay the limits).  

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