MARCH 2018 BAD FAITH CASES: NO BAD FAITH ON UIM CLAIM DENIAL WHERE RECORD SHOWED THE INSURED WAS AT FAULT IN CAUSING THE ACCIDENT (Middle District)

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In this UIM action, the insured brought suit for bad faith and breach of contract after the insurer denied the claim on the basis that the insured caused the accident at issue. The insurer moved for partial summary judgment on the bad faith claim.

The record showed the insured failed to stop at a blinking red light before striking another driver who had a blinking yellow light. The Court found that the insurer reviewed: the facts of the accident as provided by several witnesses, the police report, the insured’s traffic citation for failing to stop, photos showing damage to the vehicles, and the fact that the insured paid for the damages she caused to the other driver.

Citing Third Circuit precedent, the Court stated that “summary judgment is essentially ‘put up or shut up’ time for the non-moving party.’” While the insured testified that she did stop at the blinking light, such testimony was insufficient given the overwhelming evidence that she was at fault. Thus, the Court held that the insurer’s claim denial was supported by sufficient evidence to find that it had no duty to pay a UIM claim. There could be no bad faith on this record, and summary judgment went to the insurer.

Date of Decision: March 7, 2018

Long v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance. Co., U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:15-cv-02404, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36779 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 7, 2018) (Brann, J.)

 

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