SEPTEMBER 2018 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT DISMISSES AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE, AFTER GIVING INSURED ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO PLEAD AN ACTIONABLE BAD FAITH CLAIM (Middle District)

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In some contrast with today’s earlier post, this district court reiterated its prior legal restatement of bad faith law, that in addition to coverage denial being a basis for bad faith, “a plaintiff may also make a claim for bad faith stemming from an insurer’s investigative practices, such as a lack of a good faith investigation into facts, and failure to communicate with the claimant.” Even under that standard, the case was dismissed.

The court had previously dismissed the bad faith claims, with leave to amend. The amended complaint only added conclusory allegations. Thus, relying on the same principles set forth in its first opinion, the Court now dismissed the bad faith claim with prejudice. The court stated:

“The allegations of bad faith are virtually identical to those that I previously found insufficient. Again, Plaintiffs do not plead any facts to support a finding of bad faith. Instead, they rely solely on “bare-bones” conclusory allegations which are not sufficient to state a bad faith claim. … Moreover, insofar as the claim is predicated on Nationwide’s purported bad faith in soliciting the purchase of the insurance policy at issue, those allegations do not state a claim to relief under § 8371. … Since Plaintiffs fail to plead a plausible basis to support a finding of bad faith, that claim will be dismissed with prejudice.”

Date of Decision: September 4, 2018

Frantz v. Nationwide Insurance Company, U. S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania NO. 3:18-CV-0509, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149898 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 4, 2018) (Caputo, J.)

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