NOVEMBER 2017 BAD FAITH CASES: NO EVIDENCE OF BAD FAITH OR SUPPORT IN POLICY LANGUAGE THAT INSURER ACTED IN BAD FAITH (Philadelphia Federal)

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This case involved coverage based upon a flood during home renovations. The insureds brought breach of contract and bad faith claims, based upon the alleged failures “(1) to pay to replace the entire marble kitchen floor; (2) to pay for a two-bedroom suite; (3) to pay for additional costs for food; and, (4) to pay for depreciation.” The insurer sought summary judgment on the bad faith claims, which the court granted.

The court generally found the coverage and claims handling causes of action lacked factual support, and so could not support a bad faith claim. Its only detailed bad faith analysis went to a claim for providing adequate living accommodations when the insureds had to vacate their home for repairs.

“Plaintiffs claim that [the insurer] refused in bad faith to provide Plaintiffs a two-bedroom suite and now acts in bad faith by not paying the difference. Plaintiffs cite no record evidence suggesting [the insurer] unreasonably refused to provide them a two-bedroom suite. To the contrary, [the insurer] points to evidence that it did attempt to do so — after Plaintiffs requested to move from a two-bedroom suite already being provided by [the insurer] — but there were no two-bedroom suites available in the location Plaintiffs requested. Plaintiffs also do not identify a provision in the insurance contract obligating [the insurer] to pay the difference.”

Date of Decision: November 15, 2017

Barnwell v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-4739, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188427 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 15, 2017) (Beetlestone, J.)

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