NOVEMBER 2016 BAD FAITH CASES: BAD FAITH CLAIM TIME BARRED WHERE SUIT BROUGHT 4 YEARS AFTER INSURER CLEARLY PROVIDED AN END DATE TO MEDICAL BENEFITS (Middle District)
This first party injury case involved an insurer’s demanding independent medical examinations of the insured. The court found that the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law controlled, and that the insurer had to petition and show good cause for an IME. The insurance policies allowed for unlimited medical examinations, so long as they are reasonably required, and the insurer sought an IME under this provision.
The insured’s attorney did not agree to the conditions the insurer requested, and the insurer stopped paying first party medical benefits. The insured brought a breach of contract claim, successfully, but lost his bad faith claim on statute of limitations grounds.
Statutory bad faith claims are governed by a two-year statute of limitations. The insurer provided a clear and unambiguous letter setting forth the date it would stop paying medical benefits. The insured’s action was commenced 4 years later. Thus, the claim was time-barred and summary judgment was entered for the insurer on the bad faith claim.