JULY 2018 BAD FAITH CASES: NO BAD FAITH POSSIBLE FOR FAILING TO PAY INJURED THIRD PARTY WHERE INSURED NOT LIABLE TO INJURED PARTY (New Jersey Appellate Division) (Unpublished)

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In this case, the insured sued her mother for injuries suffered from a slip and fall at the mother’s house. She also brought a bad faith claim against the mother’s insurer for refusing to assess the claim and give the daughter a payment. The trial court found no negligence and granted the mother summary judgment. The Appellate Division agreed.

There is no reference in the opinion that the claim against the insurer was assigned to the daughter, and there was clearly no judgment against the mother giving the daughter a direct action against the insurer. Thus, it is unclear how the daughter even had a right to assert a bad faith claim against her mother’s insurer in the first instance.

That being said, the court found no basis for the bad faith claim once it was ruled the insured was not negligent. The Appellate Division held “that plaintiff’s claim for bad faith … lacked any legal basis once the judge found that [the] insured … was not negligent.”

Date of Decision: June 27, 2018

Spellman v. Theresa Kosenski & Plymouth Rock Assurance, New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division NO. A-3381-16T3, 2018 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1539 (N.J. App. Div. June 27, 2018) (Reisner and Mayer, JJ.)

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