Practicing solely in the field of first-party claims and studying, debating, and analyzing with others within Merlin Law Group raises the bar and makes our law firm members better at what we do. We also study other cases to learn winning techniques and what to avoid. Bad faith cases are never easy. But I was somewhat surprised while studying a recent Pennsylvania court’s decision to go out of its way to find delay and underestimating “reasonable.”1 I wonder if the court would have ruled the same way if an insurer stopped his paycheck and prevented him from making rulings for 17 months?
Continue Reading Pennsylvania Bad Faith Law and Learning From Others Cases

Florida does not recognize a first-party bad faith cause of action at common law. Instead, it has a statutory scheme where a formal notice (CRN) must be sent that provides the specific statutory provisions which are violated, the relevant policy language relevant to violations, and the facts giving rise to the violations. Then, the insurance company gets 60 days to cure the defects of its actions.
Continue Reading Florida’s Bad Faith Scheme Requires a 60 Day Notice Including Facts

In Oklahoma, we’ve been keeping a close eye on State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and its claims handling practices, as it seems something within State Farm has changed, making litigation against it more frequent. This graphic depicting the trajectory of insurance-related lawsuits involving State Farm in federal courts throughout the country is telling:1


Continue Reading Two Oklahoma Juries Find State Farm Acted in Bad Faith

USAA lost a jury bad faith trial in Mississippi with a $10 million verdict against it. The plaintiff policyholders are Paul Minor and his deceased wife. Paul Minor was a premier Mississippi trial lawyer and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates. For several weeks we discussed his upcoming bad faith trial against USAA, which arose out of Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. This must be the last Hurricane Katrina case.
Continue Reading USAA Slammed For $10 Million Bad Faith Award

United Policyholders recently issued an important press release, Whistleblower Sounds Alarm On Unfair Insurance Practices: Oregon Consumers Need Stronger Legal Protections. While the entirety of the press release is important, one particular sentence stood out:

As Oregon law stands today, it is not financially feasible for an average citizen or small business to retain a lawyer and undertake a lawsuit to challenge unfair treatment by an insurance company.
Continue Reading Insurers Are Invited to Nitpick, Delay, and Underpay Claims If Consumers Have No Ability to Enforce Good Faith Obligations

Proving that an insurance company failed to act in the utmost of good faith is not as easy as it sounds. Many cry “bad faith” without fully understanding what it means or how to prove it. Winning a “bad faith” lawsuit is difficult anywhere, especially in Indiana. A recent hail damage Order1 ruling that no bad faith occurred should be read by those with hail damage cases, and especially those with property insurance claims in Indiana.
Continue Reading What the Hail Is All the Fuss About? Indiana Hail Damage Claims In the Context of Bad Faith

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 10–3–1115 prohibits an insurance company from unreasonably delaying or denying payment of a claim for benefits owed to a first-party claimant. C.R.S. § 10–3–1115(1)(a). Section 10–3–1116 further provides that “[a] first-party claimant as defined in section 10–3–1115 whose claim for payment of benefits has been unreasonably delayed or denied may bring an action in a district court to recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs and two times the covered benefit.”1 An insurer’s delay is unreasonable “if the insurer delayed or denied authorizing payment of a covered benefit without a reasonable basis for that action.”2
Continue Reading What is the Bad Faith Standard Under the Colorado Insurance Code?

If you want to win a bad faith case, you better hire attorneys that are contenders and not pretenders. Bad faith cases are not easy, and the term is overused by those ignorant on the topic. Larry Bache told me a story about a relatively new attorney from another firm on the speaking circuit who has never tried a bad faith, much less a complete insurance breach of contract case, who was pontificating about bad faith in an effort to make cases rain to his firm. Those are pretenders.
Continue Reading How Not To Win A Bad Faith Hail Damage Case

How often do insurance companies shop for a new opinion looking for a way to deny coverage of a large loss? This was the situation in a recent trial which resulted in the insurer being liable for $44 million. The facts summarizing the “shopping” for a new expert opinion regarding a boiler and machinery loss were outlined by the court:
Continue Reading A $44 Million Verdict After Wrongful Denial of a Boiler and Machinery Claim—Yet No Bad Faith?