Thursday, May 12, 2022

Court Reaffirms The Rule That A Plaintiff Cannot Sue a Tortfeasor's Liability Carrier For Bad Faith

In the case of Gitelman v. Wilkinson, No. 2:21-CV-1696 (W.D. Pa. March 24, 2022 Stickman, J.), the court confirmed that a Plaintiff has no standing to sue a tortfeasor Defendant’s carrier for bad faith.

In this matter, the Plaintiff had settled her personal injury case and the tortfeasor Defendant’s carrier issued a settlement check for over $100,000.00. The Plaintiff never deposited the check and took the position that she was defrauded and that she was entitled to more money from her own carrier and from the Defendant’s carrier.

The Plaintiff filed a bad faith claim against the tortfeasor Defendant’s carrier on the basis that that insurance company owed her a duty of good faith and fair dealing.

The court granted the Motion to Dismiss this claim and, citing the Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Strutz v. State Farm, 609 A.2d 569 (Pa. Super. 1992), confirmed that a tortfeasor’s carrier owes no duty of good faith in dealing to third party Plaintiffs.

Accordingly, the court found that the Plaintiff in this matter was found not to have any standing to sue the tortfeasor’s carrier for bad faith.

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

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

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