Philadelphia – October 23, 2008 – If recent activity at the supreme courts of Florida, Idaho and Ohio is any indication, disputes over the so-called “bad faith” conduct of insurance companies continue to be hotly contested.
Updates on recent cases is just one of the sessions for litigators, in-house counsel and insurance companies at the “Bad Faith Litigation Conference” scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at The Harvard Club in New York City.
Mealey’s Litigation Report: Bad Faith, published by LexisNexis, reported on four cases decided or presented to the high courts, two in Florida.
In the case of Perera v. USF&G, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals certified two questions to the Florida Supreme Court. The first is whether a cause of action for bad faith against an insurer can be maintained when there is not an excess judgment against the insured. The second is: even if an excess judgment is not required, can a cause of action for bad faith against an insurer be maintained when the insurer’s actions never resulted in increased exposure on the part of the insured to liability in excess of the policy limits of the insured’s policies?
In Wachovia v. Toomey, the Florida Supreme Court said a claim for fiduciary duty between a broker and a policyholder was assignable because it was analogous to bad faith.
In Dombroski v. WellPoint, the Ohio Supreme Court modified the test required for a plaintiff to pierce the corporate veil. But, according to the report, even under the test’s expansion the claim of the insured in the case failed because insurer bad faith is a “straightforward tort” and is not the kind of exceptional wrong that piercing is intended to remedy.
In J-U-B Engineers Inc. v. Security Insurance the Idaho Supreme Court recently rejected a policyholder’s bad faith damage claim. The insured engineering firm argued, among other things, that its reputation as a “pugnacious litigator” was damaged when its attorney and insurer settled the underlying claim. The court said the evidence was insufficient.
Chaired by William Shelley of Cozen & O’Connor in Philadelphia and Robin Cohen at Dickstein Shapiro in New York, the “Bad Faith Litigation Conference” will delve into choice of law; choice of forum; failure to settle; the “bad faith setup”; triage assessment; document handling; testimony; witness preparation; ethics; developing trial graphics; use of technology; discovery disputes; damages; and ADR.
Participants include ACE USA, Gulf Insurance Group / Travelers; Courtroom Sciences; Anderson Kill; Reed Smith; Calladine & Peterson; Simpson Thacher; Morrison Mahoney; Post & Schell; Grippo & Elden; and Schless PC.
For more information, go to www.BVRLegal.com, and click on “Live Conferences” or call customer service at (503) 291-7963. BVR Legal, formerly Mealey Conferences and now a division of Business Valuation Resources LLC, is an education and information company serving attorneys and business experts in complex disputes involving insurance, torts and business assets.