JANUARY 2013 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT DENIES INSURED’S THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT AGAINST CARRIER FOR CONTRIBUTION IN UNDERLYING CONTRACTUAL SUIT (Philadelphia Federal)

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In Feingold v. Quinn, the court denied a Rule 14 third-party complaint by an insured, who sought contribution and indemnity from her insurance carrier. The sought-after funds relate to the carrier’s refusal to defend the insured in another suit, necessitating the insured’s hiring of her own attorney, who now seeks payment of his fees. (See these decisions). The insured has also sued the carrier for bad faith and unsuccessfully sought to assign the claim to her former attorney in satisfaction of her delinquent legal fees.

The court rejected the insured third-party complaint against the carrier because contribution claims are not available in contractual suits. Because the underlying claim by the insured’s attorney sounded in contract and not tort, the carrier could not be liable for the insured’s unpaid fees, regardless of the fact that they were incurred after the carrier denied her a defense.

Date of Decision: December 6, 2012

Feingold v. Quinn, NO. 12-3503, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173000, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (E.D. Pa. Dec. 6, 2012) (Bartle, J.)

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