Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Summary Judgment Granted in Bad Faith Matter Involving Unlicensed Driver

In the case of Lewandowski v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. 18-1441 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 20, 2019 Bissoon, J.), the court granted the carrier’s Motion for Summary Judgment on coverage and bad faith issues. 

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff loaned her car to her boyfriend. Unbeknownst to her, the boyfriend’s license was suspended. The boyfriend got into an accident and, thereafter, the carrier denied coverage based upon an exclusion for drivers driving with suspended licenses. 

The Plaintiff sued for breach of contract and bad faith. The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. 

The court analyzed the exclusion at issue and found that it applied to support the carrier’s denial of coverage. In so ruling, the court denied the insured’s efforts to read the policy differently. The court noted that it was applying the words of the policy in their natural, plain, and ordinary sense. 

As such, the court held that the insured’s attempts to read ambiguity into the policy where none existed cannot demonstrate bad faith or breach of contract as a matter of law. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Lee Applebaum of the Philadelphia law office of Fineman, Krekstein & Harris for bringing this case to my attention. Please be sure to check out Attorney Applebaum’s excellent Pennsylvania and New Jersey Insurance Bad Faith Case Law blog for continuing updates on important Pennsylvania bad faith cases.

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