Insurance Bad Faith

Insurance Bad Faith

Ceimo v. Paul Revere, Provident Life and Accident, and General American Life, $84,000,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits

$84,000,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits — U.S. District Court, Phoenix, Arizona, 4/2/2003. Jury finds that disability insurer terminated benefits of cardiologist in bad faith. Jury awards $5.4 million for emotional distress and $79 million punitive damages. This award was #7 in the Top Ten Jury Verdicts of 2003. FR’s Trial Team was led by Rick Friedman. Co-Counsel were Steve Dawson and Anita Rosenthal, Phoenix, AZ.

Merrick v. Paul Revere and UnumProvident (Unum Group), $61,647,355 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits

$61,647,355 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits — U.S. District Court, Las Vegas, Nevada, 12/13/2004 (compensatory award) and 6/26/2008 (punitive damage award). Disabled venture capitalist sued insurer for denial of disability benefits and bad faith. Jury verdict of $1,147,355 in back benefits, $500,000 for emotional distress, and $60 million in punitive damages. See our News page for further details. This award was #7 in the Top Ten Jury Verdicts of 2008
FR’s Trial Team was led by Rick Friedman. Co-counsel were Julie Mersch, Las Vegas, NV and Mac Sasser, Charlotte, NC.

Murriel-Don Coal Co. v. Aspen Insurance UK Ltd. and Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., $42,000,000 Judgment for breach of duty to defend

$42,000,000 Judgment for breach of duty to defend — Knott Circuit Court, Commonwealth of Kentucky, 11/28/2011. Insurance company abandoned defense of small coal company, Murriel-Don that had been sued following a car accident involving one of its workers. Murriel-Don learned of insurer’s abandonment only after a $42 Million in default judgment against them was reported in the newspaper. Murriel-Don brought suit against insurers for breach of duty to defend and for bad faith. After extensive litigation in state and federal courts, the Knott Circuit Court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Murriel-Don for $42 million, with 12% interest. The Court ruled that: 1) the auto exclusion insurer relied upon to deny coverage was ambiguous; 2) Murriel-Don was entitled to all coverage it reasonably expected; 3) the allegations in the underlying action subjecting Murriel-Don to liability were covered under the policy; 4) Aspen waived all coverage defenses under the doctrine of waiver; 5) Aspen was liable under the doctrine of estoppel; and 6) Aspen breached its duty to defend. The Court ruled that Aspen was in breach of contract and liable for all damages naturally flowing from its failure to defend, including the underlying default judgments totaling $42 million, plus interest, leaving Murriel-Don’s additional claims for bad faith and punitive damages to be determined at trial. The parties subsequently mediated and settled the case in March 2012. FR’s Co-counsel were Gary Johnson, Pikeville, KY and Jerry Wicker, Hindman, KY.

Doe v. Doe, $25,000,000 Settlement in Southwest United States involving Michigan no-fault insurance benefits

$25,000,000 Settlement in the Southwest United States involving Michigan no-fault insurance attendant care benefits on behalf of a former resident of Michigan catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident. (The confidentiality terms prohibit further identification of the parties or settlement terms).

Bergonzi v. Central States Health and Life Co. of Omaha, $20,000,000 Class Action Settlement for bad faith denial of cancer insurance benefits

$20,000,000 Class Action Settlement for bad faith denial of cancer insurance benefits – U.S. District Court, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 11/18/2003. Insurer agreed to pay $20 million to settle claims that it sold cancer insurance to people nationwide but paid only a fraction of the benefits when they got sick. Of the $20 million, $7.5 million is to be paid to about 1,240 people who were denied coverage. Of the rest, $2.5 million will pay attorneys’ fees and the remainder will be put into a fund to pay for any future medical expenses incurred by the 1,400 people who filed claims or any of more than 18,000 other people nationwide who bought the policies but have not contracted cancer. FR’s Co-Counsel were Mike Abourezk, Rapid City, SD and Peter Kahana, Philadelphia, PA. Details.

Nordhoff Townhomes Association v. Farmers Insurance Co., 20,000,000 settlement for bad faith denial of earthquake insurance benefits

$20,000,000 settlement for bad faith denial of earthquake insurance benefits — Los Angeles Superior Court, California 3/2000. Condominium owners sued Farmers for bad faith for the handling of their property damage claims after the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. Jury verdict of $3.9 million compensatory damages. Case settled for $20 million prior to punitive phase of trial. FR’s Co-counsel was Bernie Bernheim, North Hollywood, CA.

McKendry v. General American, Paul Revere, $17,300,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits

$17,300,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits — Maricopa County Superior Court, Phoenix, Arizona. June 1999. Man whose disability insurance benefits were terminated sued for bad faith. $350,000 compensatory damages, $17 million punitive damages. Confidential settlement pending retrial. FR’s Co-counsel were Steve Dawson and Anita Rosenthal, Phoenix, AZ.

Ace v. Aetna, $16,500,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits

Tyson v. State Farm, $10,000,000 Settlement for improper denial of attendant care benefits in auto insurance policy

$10,000,000 Settlement for improper denial of attendant care benefits in auto insurance policy — Wayne County Circuit Court, Detroit, Michigan, 9/10/2004. Man rendered quadriplegic in a car accident in 1977 sued insurer for concealing the availability of attendant care benefits and underpayment of benefits. Case settled for $10,000,000 after trial commenced. Insurer continues to be responsible for unlimited attendant care benefits in the future. FR’s Co-counsel was Paul Zebrowski, Shelby Township, MI.

Robinson v. State Farm, $9,500,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of medical benefits in auto insurance policy

$9,500,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of medical benefits in auto insurance policy — Ada County District Court, Boise, Idaho, March 1998. Woman injured in a single car accident sued insurer for failure to make payment under medical pay coverage. Jury verdict of $102,000 compensatory damages, and $9.5 million in punitive damages. Confidential Settlement pending retrial. FR’s Co-counsel were Jim Harris, Boise, ID and Dale McGarvey, Kalispell, MT. Cindy Robinson’s story was featured by Dateline NBC – in “Paper Chase Part I,” broadcast June 23, 2000 and “Paper Chase Part II,” broadcast July 25, 2000.

Fisher v. Aetna, $8,600,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits

$8,600,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits — Anchorage Superior Court, Alaska, 7/9/1998. Man whose disability insurance claim was denied sued for denial of benefits and bad faith. Jury verdict of $292,000 compensatory damages, $8.4 million in punitive damages. Settled for a confidential amount.

Daniels v. v. American Physicians Assurance Corporation, $3,829,277 Verdict for bad faith delay of settlement of malpractice claim

$3,829,277 Verdict for bad faith delay of settlement of malpractice claim — Jefferson County Circuit Court, Louisville, KY, 6/3/2009. Insurer unreasonably delayed settlement of woman’s medical malpractice claim against doctor. Jury verdict of $250,000 compensatory damages, $3,479,277 in punitive damages. For details, click here to go to our news page.

Johnstown Feed & Seed v. Continental Western Insurance Co., $3,500,000 Verdict for bad faith delay of fire insurance benefits

$3,500,000 Verdict for bad faith delay of fire insurance benefits — U.S. District Court, Denver, Colorado, 2/24/2010. Insurer unreasonably delayed payment following fire because it also insured welders who caused fire that burned down grain elevator and feed mill. In addition to the $3.5 Million awarded by the jury, plaintiffs may recover up to $1.5M in prejudgment interest. For details, click here to go to our news page. FR’s Co-counsel was Chris Ingold, Denver, CO.

Paquette v. State Farm, $3,296,413 Verdict for improper denial of attendant care benefits in auto insurance policy

$3,296,413 Verdict for improper denial of attendant care benefits in auto insurance policy – Macomb County Court, Michigan, 7/26/2006. Mother of teenager who suffered brain stem injury in auto accident in 1985 sued insurer for concealing the availability of attendant care benefits and underpayment of benefits. Jury verdict of $3,296,413.29. In addition, insurer may be required to pay attorney fees and costs and must continue to pay attendant care benefits in the future. FR’s Co-counsel is Paul Zebrowski, Shelby Township, MI.

Greenberg v. Paul Revere Life Ins., Co., et al., $2,950,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits

$2,950,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of disability benefits — US District Court, Phoenix, Arizona, January 2002. Disabled stockbroker sued for bad faith arising out of termination of benefits under own occupation disability insurance policy. $547,445.42 compensatory damages; $2.4 million punitive damages. Affirmed, 2004 WL 74630 (9th Cir. 2004). FR’s Co-counsel was Calvin C. Thur, Scottsdale, AZ.

MKB Constructors v. American Zurich Ins. Co, et al., $2,357,906 Verdict for bad faith denial of benefits under builder's risk policy

$2,357,906 Verdict for bad faith denial of benefits under builder’s risk policy — US District Court, Seattle, Washington, 10/24/2014. Public works contractor sued insurer following denial of benefits under “earth movement” endorsement of builder’s risk policy. $1,495,044.71 compensatory damages; $862,000 penalty under Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA).

David Mello v. Horace Mann Insurance Company, $650,000 settlement for bad faith denial of underinsured motorist benefits

$650,000 settlement for bad faith denial of underinsured motorist benefits — 1st Judicial District Court, Carson City, Nevada January 2003. (Breach of contract and Insurance Bad Faith) David Mello, an optometrist, was rear-ended by a drunk driver who had only $15,000 of insurance. Despite substantial back injuries and economic losses, his insurance company failed to promptly or fairly evaluate his injuries or investigate his claim. Case settled prior to trial for $650,000. FR’s Co-counsel was James Wilson, Carson City, NV.

Daniel Athey v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, $645,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of underinsured motorist benefits

$645,000 Verdict for bad faith denial of underinsured motorist benefits — US District Court, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, August 1999. Man sued Farmers for bad faith claim evaluation and handling in connection with underinsured motorist coverage. Jury verdict of $185,000 compensatory damages, $450,000 punitive damages. FR’s Co-counsel Christopherson, Bailin & Anderson, Sioux Falls, SD. Paralegal – Kimberly Becker.

Koch v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Jury Verdict for breach of insurance contract — U.S. District Court, Tacoma, WA, 11/19/2009. Insurer refused to pay disability benefits to dentist with bilateral vestibular disorder and attempted to rescind. Verdict for dentist obligates insurer to reinstate benefits, pay attorney fees and court costs. For more details, see our News page.

Doe v. General American Life Ins. Co. and Paul Revere Life Ins. Co.

Confidential Settlement — U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2005. Disabled doctor sued insurer following denial of benefits. All claims were settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties. FR’s Co-Counsel was Patrick J. Reilly, Allentown, PA.

Connel v. The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and Paul Revere Life Insurance Company

Confidential Settlement — Court of Common Pleas, County of Richland, South Carolina, 2004. Disabled lawyer sued insurers for breach of contract and bad faith after his benefits were denied following a heart attack. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-Counsel was Paul Kamber, Columbia, SC.

Burns v. Paul Revere Life Ins. Co. and UnumProvident Corp.

Confidential Settlement — U.S. District Court, Honolulu, Hawaii, May 2003. Disabled lawyer sued insurers for breach of contract and bad faith after his benefits were denied following disabling mental illness. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-Counsel was John O’Neil, Wailuku Maui, Hawaii.

Jakway v. UnumProvident and Paul Revere Life Ins. Co.

Confidential Settlement — U.S. District Court, C.D. California, January 2003. Disabled hospital administrator sued when disability insurer arbitrarily terminated benefits. Confidential Settlement. Co-counsel was Tom Curtis, Pasadena, CA.

Superior Hardwoods, Inc. v. Travelers Ins. Co.

Confidential Settlement – Breach of contract and bad faith action against casualty carrier following fire loss. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was Gerry Grimes, Sequim, WA.

Leak v. Unum Life Ins. Co.

Confidential Settlement — U.S. District Court, S.D. California, April 2004. Disabled electrical worker injured in rock slide on Mt. Rainier sued when disability insurer arbitrarily terminated benefits. Confidential Settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was Howard Bennett Hellen, Vista, CA.

McCaa v. Massachusetts Mutual

Confidential Settlement — Carson City, Nevada, 2004, Insured sued for bad faith after Mass Mutual arbitrarily denied benefits under own-occupation disability policy. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was James Wilson, Carson City, NV.

Goetzfried v. Farmers Insurance

Confidential Settlement — Maricopa County Superior Court, Phoenix AZ, 2000. Insured sued for bad faith over handling of claim following fire. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was Steve Gruenemeier, Phoenix, AZ.

Prabucki v. UnumProvident

Confidential Settlement — Western District of Washington, 2001. Insured sued for bad faith arising out of termination of benefits under disability insurance policy. Confidential settlement.

Sanders v. American Mutual, et al.

Confidential Settlement — U.S. District Court, Nevada. Insured sued for bad faith arising out of denial of benefits under individual own occupation policy. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was Julie Mersch, Las Vegas, NV.

Sanders v. Paul Revere Life Ins. Co., et al.

Confidential Settlement — U.S. District Court, Nevada. January 2002. Insured sued for bad faith arising out of termination of benefits under own occupation disability insurance policy. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was Julie Mersch, Las Vegas, NV.

Johnson et al. v. Central States of Omaha Ins. Co.

Confidential Settlement — U.S. District Court, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Multiple insureds sued for bad faith claims handling arising out of denial of benefits under cancer insurance policies. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was Mike Abourezk, Rapid City, SD.

Lucas v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co.

Confidential Settlement — 4th Judicial District, Idaho, 1999. Insured sued for bad faith denial of medical payment coverage benefits. Confidential Settlement. FR’s Co-counsel wereJim Harris, Boise, ID and Dale McGarvey, Kalispell, MT.

Duffey v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

Confidential Settlement — Superior Court Alaska Fourth Judicial District. May 1999. Insured sued for bad faith denial of medical payment coverage benefits. Confidential settlement. FR’s Co-counsel was Chris Bataille, Fairbanks, AK. Duffey’s story was featured on Dateline NBC in “Paper Chase Part I” broadcast June 23, 2000 and “Paper Chase Part II” broadcast July 25, 2000. Click here for a five-minute video clip from the Dateline broadcast.

*Disclaimer: Many of the judgments entered were larger than the verdicts, due to the addition of statutory interest, attorney fees and/or costs. many of the verdicts were either reduced on appeal, or settled for amounts less than the judgment. These cases and results are a sampling of results achieved. This does not constitute a promise, guarantee or warranty of any kind. Results differ from case to case.