In my experience, most insurance companies do NOT fear going to trial.
And it doesn’t matter to them who the opposing counsel is.
They have very competent attorneys they pay $$$ to to defend their cases.
If they know approximately what a jury is going to give for a certain type of injury, they just don’t get very excited about the prospect of losing.
However that is NOT the case with a bad faith claim.
Because there is no limit to the amount of $ they could be responsible for in a bad faith case.
It is as simple as that.
So when I read the article below today I almost fell out of my seat.
This is a case in which Nationwide Insurance dragged litigation out for over 16 years.
Think about that.
What’s worse is this was regarding an auto accident insurance dispute for car damage in the amount of $295.
Why Nationwide Insurance would engage in this type of scorched earth strategy is incomprehensible. One possible explanation for it is that if Nationwide had thousands of small claims and they fought them tooth and nail in every matter people would give up fighting the claims and their profits would rise.
The trial judge in the case was extremely frustrated by the bad-faith actions of Nationwide Insurance.
Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, car accident and bad-faith attorney Bernie Tully is here to help you with your bad faith claim against any insurance company.
Not all insurance companies are evil.
But when they engage in delay, deny and dispute regarding such a minor claim, you can see why the judge awarded $3 million in attorneys fees and $18 million in punishment or punitive damages.
Check out the article from the Legal Intelligencer below.
“The Berks County judge who levied a $21 million award against Nationwide in an insurance dispute involving a $295 judgment had not been acting fairly, but had been on a “mission,” counsel for the insurer told the Superior Court.
Dechert attorney Robert C. Heim argued before a three-judge Superior Court panel Feb. 2 in Berg v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance that Berks County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher had completely disregarded the facts of the case, and had instead gone on a “tantrum” against the carrier, assailing everything from its litigation tactics to its advertising practices.
“I very much doubt that this court has seen another case where the factual findings in the trial court are as unfaithful to the record as this one,” Heim said.
In June 2014, Sprecher awarded the plaintiffs, Daniel and Sheryl Berg, $18 million in punitive damages and $3 million in attorney fees after determining that the insurance company had engaged in a “scorched earth” strategy for fighting small claims. The award came after more than 16 years of litigation and a previous trip up the appellate ladder.
Sprecher issued his verdict in a harshly worded opinion, finding that “Nationwide strong-armed its own policyholder rather than negotiating in good faith to compensate plaintiff for the loss suffered in a car accident property damage dispute.
Thanks for reading
Bernie the Attorney.