JANUARY 2014 BAD FAITH CASES: BAD FAITH CLAIM ARISING FROM DEATH IN 1999 BARRED BY STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (Philadelphia Commerce Court)

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Plaintiff, wife of the late Philadelphia Flyers player Dmitri Tertyshny, brought suit against the insurer that provided her husband with a disability and accidental death policy when it denied her benefits under the policy after her late husband’s death at a summer training camp. The policy was issued in March of 1999, listing plaintiff as the beneficiary. Decedent passed away in July of 1999.

Plaintiff was never paid any benefits under the policy, and in August of 1999, the insurer returned the unused premium and canceled the permanent total disability policy. In May of 2010, plaintiff filed a seven-count complaint, including a claim of bad faith, against the insurer.

The insurer filed a motion for summary judgment citing the lapse of the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, bad faith claims are governed by a two year statute of limitations. The court granted the insurer’s motion, finding plaintiff was aware of her right to recover in July of 1999 upon her husband’s death, and that she was aware no death benefits were included in the policy, nor would any such benefits be disbursed by the insurer, in August of 1999.

Therefore, at the latest, the statute of limitations began to run in August of 1999. The court granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment on the basis of statute of limitations and dismissed the action.

Date of Decision: Dec. 13, 2013

Tertyshnaya v. Std. Sec. Life Ins. Co., No. 3803 Commerce Program, 2013 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 374 (C.C.P. Phila. Dec. 13, 2013) (Snite, J.).

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