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The insured wanted to amend his Uninsured Motorist breach of contract complaint to add a bad faith claim, on the basis that the insurer acted in “bad faith in its evaluation and submission of its lowball settlement offer.”

During the initial Rule 16 conference with the court, the parties represented that the insured previously had demanded $50,000 to settle, and the carrier offered $8,000.  At the Rule 16 conference, plaintiff represented that leave to amend would be sought to add a bad faith claim (for the first time), based on facts that apparently were first adduced to the court during the Rule 16 conference. These new allegations concerned additional spinal and back injuries the insured suffered.  During that conference, the insured’s “counsel was unable to give an exact date as to when this information was provided to Defense counsel.”

The court observed that the proposed amended complaint accompanying the subsequently filed motion to amend contained “only broad conclusory allegations related to the bad faith claim.”  “More specifically, the proposed Amended Complaint is devoid of any facts as to when the MRI or any other medical records that would establish at least $50,000 worth of damages were provided to Defense counsel.”

Eastern District Judge Kenney found “that the Complaint, as amended, fails to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and that thus the Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint is futile and warrants denial.”  He relied on the Third Circuit’s 2012 Smith decision, summarized here, for the proposition that “the failure to immediately accede to a demand for the policy limit cannot, without more, amount to bad faith”.

Date of Decision:  March 4, 2022

Robinson v. GEICO, U.S.  District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania No. 21-CV-05059, 2022 WL 672688 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 4, 2022) (Kenney, J.)