The UIM insured brought breach of contract, common law contractual bad faith, and statutory bad faith claims. The court recognized that the scope of common law bad faith damages described by the Supreme Court’s Birth Center decision in the third party context, also applies in the first party context. Thus, while payment of full UIM benefits might moot the contract claim, it does not automatically address a potential common law bad faith claim for consequential damages.
In this case, policy limits were tendered after litigation began, so the court looked at the claim for additional damages in evaluating the common law bad faith claim. The insured asserted that an award in excess of the policy limits would fall within the kind of consequential damages allowed for in a common law bad faith claim. However, looking at Birth Center and Cowden, the court concluded that an excess verdict on a first party claim does not fall within the category of consequential damages permitted in common law bad faith claims. Thus, the contract claim and common law bad faith claim were dismissed.
The court also made clear that compensatory and consequential damages cannot be recovered for statutory bad faith.
Date of Decision: June 14, 2017
Koerner v. GEICO Casualty Co., NO. 3:17-cv-455, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91836 (M.D. Pa. June 14, 2017) (Conaboy, J.)