THERE CAN BE NO BAD FAITH IF THE POLICY WAS NOT IN EFFECT (Superior Court of Pennsylvania) (Non-precedential)

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The trial court had determined a life insurance policy was not in effect at the time plaintiff’s husband died, and dismissed breach of contract and bad faith claims on summary judgment. The insured appealed, and the Superior Court affirmed.

The Superior Court closely scrutinized the facts and the policy language to determine whether the policy was in effect at the time of death. The panel concluded it was not, and affirmed the trial court’s rejection of plaintiff’s breach of contract claim.

As to bad faith, the court affirmed in short order: “In sum, the trial court properly concluded that the policy was not in effect when the decedent died and that Appellee was entitled to summary judgment on Appellant’s claims of breach of contract. …. For the same reason, we agree with the trial court that Appellant could not establish that Appellee acted in bad faith when denying her claim for death benefits.”

Thus, as there was no policy in effect there could be no bad faith. The Superior Court cited the Supreme Court’s Rancosky decision to support this conclusion.

Date of Decision: September 11, 2019

O’Hara v. Metlife, Superior Court of Pennsylvania No. 3477 EDA 2018, 2019 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3456 (Pa. Super. Ct. Sept. 11, 2019) (Nichols, Shogan, Strassburger, JJ.)

 

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