NOVEMBER 2012 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT STRIKES INSURED’S DEMAND FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES UNDER THE COMPLAINT’S BREACH OF CONTRACT CLAIM AND COMPENSATORY DAMAGES UNDER THE BAD FAITH COUNT (Western District)

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In Getz v. State Farm Ins. Co., the carrier moved to strike two claims for damages under the insured’s suit for breach of contract and bad faith. The dispute arose from a UIM claim that the insured brought against its automobile carrier. After it was unable to settle, the insured filed suit in state court. The carrier filed a notice of removal and then moved to strike the aforementioned claims.

The court struck the insured’s claim for attorney’s fees under Craker v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. (see this blog), which recently concluded that it was proper to strike a claim for attorney’s fees in a breach of contract claim, but permit them in bad faith claims.

The court also struck the insured’s claim for compensatory damages under its bad faith count. The court reasoned that, while 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8371 does not prohibit claims for compensatory damages in common law contract suits, it does proscribe them in claims for bad faith under its provisions.

The court also denied the insured leave to amend.

Date of Decision: October 24, 2012

Getz v. State Farm Ins. Co., NO. 3:12-CV-82, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152774, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (W.D. Pa. Oct. 24, 2012) (Gibson, J.)

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