Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Court Grants Partial Motion For Summary Judgment in UIM Bad Faith Case

In the case of Childs v. Progressive Preferred Ins. Co., No. 2:22-CV-01318 M.J.H. (W. Pa. June 15, 2023 Horan, J.), the court granted a Defendant’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in a bad faith claim and dismissed the bad faith claim where the court found that the Plaintiff failed to present any evidence indicating that additional investigation would have changed the UIM carrier’s evaluation. The court also found that the Plaintiff failed to present any evidence that the insurance company otherwise failed to conduct a diligent investigation on the case presented.

According to the Opinion, the case arose out of a motor vehicle accident and a UIM claim against Progressive.

According to the Opinion, the tortfeasor Defendant tendered its limits. Progressive granted its consent to settle and, after reviewing the record, offered $1,000.00 to settle the Plaintiff’s UIM claim.

Progressive was later advised that the Plaintiff’s physician had recommended surgery for the Plaintiff’s right shoulder but that the Plaintiff had decided not to move forward with the surgery at that time.

Progressive obtained a medical expert to review the Plaintiff’s MRIs. That expert concluded the Plaintiff’s right shoulder complaints were not related to the accident.

Nevertheless, Progressive then increased the settlement offer to $2,500.00 in a case where Plaintiff’s counsel valued the case at $25,000.00 to $50,000.00. The Plaintiff responded with a bad faith and breach of contract lawsuit.

As noted above, the court found that the record failed to reveal evidence to support the bad faith claim which was dismissed by way of this Partial Motion for Summary Judgment. The court noted that Progressive’s expert’s opinion provided a reasonable basis for the carrier to conclude that the right shoulder complaints were not related to the accident.

The court also noted that the Plaintiff lacked a basis to contest the value of Progressive’s settlement offer given that the Plaintiff had dropped his wage loss claim and given that the Plaintiff was not pursuing recommended shoulder surgery.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 13, 2023).

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