Jon Bukowski was trying to explain to me how he, Larry Bache, and Mike Duffy won a bad faith jury trial verdict against GuideOne Mutual Insurance Company.1 He told me that it was because of Mike Duffy’s trial skills and “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the findings of bad faith in an opinion filed yesterday.
The case involved property damage to a church. An independent adjuster was assigned to adjust the loss for GuideOne. Jon told me that he took the video deposition of GuideOne’s desk adjuster. The desk adjuster agreed that the appointed independent adjuster was the “eyes and ears” for GuideOne. Obviously, the credentials and skillsets of that independent adjuster are important. So, Jon asked how the independent adjuster was selected. The answer was “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
In closing argument, Mike Duffy made a big point about indifference towards doing a property adjustment timely and correctly. The adjustment all came down to a claims culture of choices to pay or not pay based upon “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
Larry Bache successfully argued the case before the appellate court. The opinion noted how flippant the GuideOne adjuster was regarding timeliness of claims payment:
In April 2018, US General sent GuideOne an invoice for $91,000 of repairs. That same day, a GuideOne representative said the ‘check is in the mail’—apparent concession that the policy covered those repairs. But the check never came…. Although GuideOne does not dispute that the policy covered the $91,000, it did not pay until October 2018, six months after US General sent the invoice.
We have staff and attorneys from all over the country in Tampa celebrating our holiday party. This trial and appellate victory are certainly going to be cause for a champagne toast.
Thought For The Day
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
—J. R. R. Tolkien
1 US General LLC v. Guideone Mut. Ins. Co., No 22-1145 (10th Cir. Dec. 12, 2022).