Monday, March 18, 2019

Scope of Allowable Bad Faith Discovery Limited by Western District Federal Court of Pennsylvania

In the case of Horvath v. Globe Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 3:18-CV-84 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 28, 2019 Gibson, J.), the court denied a Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel a Defendant carrier in a bad faith claim to identify all bad faith suits in which it was involved over the preceding ten (10) years.  

In denying this Motion to Compel by the Plaintiff, the court essentially ruled that the other, prior bad faith claims were irrelevant to the case at hand.   Judge Gibson found that there was no close “connection between other bad faith claims against Defendant and the issue of materiality here, particularly considering the myriad of potential factual differences between other claims and the present claim, including different types of policies, unique policy language, the application of different states’ law, [and] varying circumstances surrounding the bad faith allegations…..” 

Judge Gibson additionally noted that “the general rule [is] that courts in the Third Circuit ‘disfavor the discovery of similar claims evidenced in bad faith cases.’”  

The court additionally denied this Motion to Compel evidence of ten (10) years of prior bad faith actions as overbroad and unduly burdensome given that there was no geographic limit, no limit to the type of insurance policy at issue, no valid explanation as to why a ten (10) year period was required or why a shorter period would be inadequate.  

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.  

I send thanks to Attorney Lee Applebaum of the Fineman, Krekstein & Harris law firm in Philadelphia for bringing this case to my attention.   Check out Attorney Applebaum’s excellent blog entitled Pennsylvania and New Jersey Insurance Bad Faith Case Law blog.   

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