APRIL 2016 BAD FAITH CASES: INSURED MET FEDERAL PLEADING STANDARDS IN ALLEGING BAD FAITH DELAY IN CLAIMS HANDLING, AND CONSIDERED VIOLATIONS OF STATE REGULATIONS AS WELL IN DECLINING MOTION TO DISMISS (Middle District, Magistrate's Report and Recommendation)

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In Ridolfi v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, the insured brought breach of contract and bad faith claims against its own insurer in connection with an automobile accident.  The insured pleaded that she had been trying to resolve the case with her insurer for over two and one half years.  She alleged that the insurer had misstated its policy limits on at least two occasions; made repeated, redundant and unnecessary requests for medical records; ignored correspondence from the plaintiff and her counsel for months; and attempted to improperly subpoena medical records of the plaintiff without providing the plaintiff proper notice.

The insurer moved to dismiss the bad faith count, but the court refused to dismiss the claim. The court found that plaintiff met federal pleading standards. The complaint the claim, and delays caused by an allegedly improper investigation, coupled with an alleged lack of response to numerous legitimate requests for assistance and information from the plaintiffs. The complaint further alleged that the insurer’s claims handling violated specific state insurance claims processing laws and regulations, citing these statutory and regulatory violations as further proof of bad faith. The court refused to go beyond the pleadings, and the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation that the motion to dismiss be denied.

Date of Decision:  March 24, 2016

Ridolfi v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 1:15-CV-859, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38344 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 24, 2016) (Carlson, U.S.M.J.) (Report and Recommendation)

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