MARCH 2017 BAD FAITH CASES: NO FIDUCIARY DUTY OWED IN UIM CONTEXT; BAD FAITH CLAIMS WERE NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS (Middle District)

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In this uninsured motorist case, the court struck all references in the insured’s complaint concerning breach of fiduciary duty. “Under Pennsylvania law, an insurer owes a duty of good faith and fair dealing toward their insureds. It is well-established, however, that there is no fiduciary duty owed to an insured in the context of an underinsured/uninsured motorist benefits.”

In analyzing the motion to dismiss the insured’s bad faith claims, which included a long list of alleged bad faith acts, the court first separated out the factual and legal elements. In looking at the factual allegations, it first found that allegations of failure to communicate and ignoring communications were unsupported. There was also no evidence to support allegations that the insurer had not fairly and objectively evaluated the claim, or that the settlement offer was so inadequate as to constitute bad faith. Nor was there evidence to support that the insurer’s requests for four medical examinations were made in bad faith.

The court dismissed the bad faith claims, but gave the insured leave to amend if sufficient supporting facts could be pleaded.

[The case was later allowed to proceed based upon facts alleged in the amended complaint.]

Date of Decision: January 27, 2017

Meyers v. Protective Ins. Co., No. 16-1821, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11338 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 27, 2017) (Caputo, J.)

 

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