AUGUST 2012 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT PERMITS BAD FAITH CLAIM TO PROCEED SOLELY AS TO THEORY THAT CARRIER MADE UNNECESSARY DOCUMENT REQUESTS TO DELAY THE PAYMENT OF INSURED’S UIM BENEFITS (Middle District)

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In Schlegel v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., the court heard a carrier’s motion to dismiss an amended complaint by which an insured couple sought to compel the payment of Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) benefits under its policy. The insureds in this case sustained injuries after an uninsured motorist crossed in front of them without the right of way.

The insureds filed a claim for UIM benefits with their carrier, but were denied. After filing a complaint, the court dismissed the insureds’ initial allegations, but permitted them to amend and re-file. After re-filing their complaint, the carrier again moved to dismiss.

Examining the insureds’ amended complaint for bad faith, the court recognized that the allegations were substantially the same. However, the insureds did add another allegation that the carrier made unnecessary document requests in an effort to delay and ultimately deny the payment of the insureds’ UIM benefits. The court accepted this allegation as true for purposes of the motion to dismiss, allowing the claim to proceed solely on the basis of this theory. However, the court dismissed the bad faith claim in all other regards.

Date of Decision: July 23, 2012

Schlegel v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 3:11-CV-2190, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97529, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (M.D. Pa. July 13, 2012) (Caputo, J.)

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