DECEMBER 2018 BAD FAITH CASES: FAILURE TO DESCRIBE ACTUAL BAD FAITH TACTICS, DATES CONNECTED TO DELAYS, DEFICIENCIES IN CLAIM HANDLING, OR DISHONEST INVESTIGATION UNDERMINE BAD FAITH CLAIMS (Philadelphia Federal)
This UIM bad faith case involved the insurer’s refusal to pay based on whether a college-aged child was a “resident relative” under her parents’ policy.
In addressing a motion to dismiss the bad faith claim, the court observed that “the party bringing the bad faith claim must describe who, what, where, when, and how the alleged bad faith conduct occurred.” Insurers do not act in bad faith simply by investigating claims to protect their interest during litigation, absent evidence of some dishonest purpose. In this case, the pleadings were conclusory and did not provide this detail.
The bad faith claim was “unsupported by any facts that explain how the alleged bad faith conduct occurred. Indeed, there are no specific facts showing how Plaintiff lacked a reasonable basis in its interpretation, administration, investigation, or delay of UIM benefits….” The allegations that the insurer “unreasonably investigated” the claim were unsupported by facts indicating how the insurer’s claim handling procedures were deficient. Claims about delays failed to set forth the dates of any actions that could show delays were unreasonable. Further, arguments over “obstructive tactics” used to force an “inadequate settlement” lacked specifics in identifying those tactics and did not set out a plausible claim.
The court did give leave to file an amended pleading.
Date of Decision: December 7, 2018
Amica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Das, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania CIVIL ACTION NO. 18-1613, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206787, 2018 WL 6435332 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 7, 2018) (Jones, J.)