FEBRUARY 2013 BAD FAITH CASES: APPELLATE COURT AFFIRMS SUMMARY JUDGMENT TO CARRIER BECAUSE INSUREDS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH CARRIER’S INVESTIGATION EFFORTS (Third Circuit)

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In Verdetto v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., the insureds appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to its rental insurance carrier (see this blog) and the district court’s later denial of the insureds’ motion for reconsideration (see this blog).
The court affirmed the district court’s ruling on the insureds’ bad faith and breach of contract claims. It reasoned that the carrier engaged in a thorough investigation of the fire that destroyed the insureds’ rental home and concluded that the fire was caused by arson. Moreover, the insureds were uncooperative throughout the investigation.
Yet, the insureds argued that the issue of whether they materially breached their insurance contract was an issue for the jury. The court noted that, while this is generally true, the carrier had proven that no fact existed for a jury to decide, warranting summary judgment. As such, the court affirmed the district court’s rulings and dismissed the case.
Date of Decision: January 17, 2013
Verdetto v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 11-4567, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1372, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (3d Cir. Pa. Jan. 17, 2013) (Greenaway, C.J., Greenberg, C.J., Cowen, C.J.)

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