Court Unimpressed With Bad Faith Attorney’s Tactics

(Larson v. Hartford Insurance Co., Federal District Court, Order, Filed 5/8/15)

This case involves a bad faith claim filed on behalf of Christy Larson against Hartford in the Federal District Court of Arizona.

After Larson had presented her case to the jury, Hartford asked for the Court to rule as a matter of law in Hartford’s favor. The Judge granted the motion in Hartford’s favor, indicating the evidence presented did not support a verdict for Larson.

While the facts of this particular matter are not important, some of the Judge’s comments are worth noting. He pointed out that “the [Applicant] herself, through counsel, delayed her claim by refusing to sign medical releases and forcing [Hartford] into Industrial Commission litigation to obtain necessary information.” He noted that Applicant’s counsel took the “unreasonable position” that medical providers should study the law and disclose records without releases.

The Judge added that Applicant’s counsel forced Hartford through “needless adversarial hoops,” noting that the “covenant of good faith and fair dealing runs both ways, and an insured may not complain that an insurer had to negotiate the obstruction that the insured herself injected into the claims process.”

Finally, the Judge indicated that an insured and her lawyer “may not create bad faith liability by making unreasonable demands on the insurer.”

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