MAY 2014 BAD FAITH CASES: THERE IS NO BAD FAITH WHERE AUTO INSURER HAD NO DUTY TO INDEMNIFY INSURED FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY FAULTY REPAIR WORK IN BODY SHOP (Philadelphia Common Pleas)

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In Rogers v. Allstate Property and Casualty Ins. Co., plaintiff brought an action against a body shop for damages to her car, and also named her auto insurer, bringing claims against it for Fraud, Bad Faith, Negligence, UTPCPL violations, and for Breach of contract, and alleging a general count of “Pattern and Practice.”

The breach of contract claim failed as nowhere in the policy was the carrier required to pay for faulty repairs or poor workmanship by a third party repair shop, as faulty repairs or poor workmanship by a third-party repair shop clearly does not involve a collision with another object.

The court also rejected the argument that the faulty repairs amounted to theft, vandalism or malicious mischief. As to the bad faith count, the plaintiff’s Bad Faith claim was premised upon an alleged failure to pay to fix the faulty repairs or poor workmanship by a third party repair shop. Again, it was clear the policy of insurance did not provide coverage in these circumstances. Therefore, the insurer could not have acted in Bad Faith as a matter of law by not paying to fix the alleged faulty repair or poor workmanship by a third party repair shop.

As to the UTPCPL and fraud claims, plaintiff alleged it was misled into believing that such damages from faulty repair work would be covered under the policy. However, neither the complaint nor the record attached thereto set forth an actionable claim on these counts. There was no averment that the insurer itself, or the policy of insurance, actually deceived or had a tendency to deceive. There was no averment that any alleged misrepresentation made a difference in the Plaintiff’s purchasing decision.

Finally, the claims arise from unsatisfactory nonpayment of alleged faulty repairs or poor workmanship by a third party repair shop, amounting to nonfeasance, rather than misfeasance under the UTPCPL.

Date of Decision: March 11, 2014

Rogers v. Allstate Property and Casualty Ins. Co., July Term 2008, No. 4114, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, 2014 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 72, (C.C.P. Phila. March 11, 2014) (Fox, J.)

 

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