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Date: 01-13-2023

Case Style:

Reuben J. Eicher and Karri L. Eicher v. Liberty Mutual Personal Insurance Company

Case Number: 1:22-cv-00029

Judge: Cathy Bissoon

Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Allegheny County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Adam Barnett

Defendant's Attorney: Patricia A. Monahan

Description: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania insurance law lawyer represented Plaintiffs, who sued Defendant on a bad faith breach of insurance contract claiming more than $75,000 in damages.

MoreLaw Legal News For Pittsburgh

"Pennsylvania does not recognize a common law tort claim for bad faith. D’Ambrosio v. Pennsylvania Nat’l Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., 431 A.2d 966, 970 (Pa. 1981). However, a contractual claim for bad faith does exist. Birth Center v. St. Paul Cos., 787 A.2d 376 (Pa. 2001).

A statutory bad faith cause of action may be brought under Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute, 42 Pa. C.S. § 8371. However, it only applies to insureds; thus, a third party does not have a direct action against the insurer absent an express written assignment from the insured. Brown v. Candelora, 708 A.2d 104 (Pa. Super. 1998). Pennsylvania has a direct action statute for claimants who cannot collect on a judgment against a bankrupt or insolvent insured, but recovery is limited to the limits of the policy. 40 P.S. § 117. It is also worth noting that policy provisions prohibiting the transfer or assignment of rights under insurance policies are generally enforced in Pennsylvania.

In an action arising under an insurance policy, if the court finds that the insurer has acted in bad faith toward the insured, the court may take all of the following actions:

1. Award interest on the amount of the claim from the date the claim was made by the insured in an amount equal to the prime rate of interest plus 3%.

2. Award punitive damages against the insurer.

3. Assess court costs and attorney fees against the insurer.

Pennsylvania’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act, 40 P.S. §§ 1171.1, et seq. does not permit a private cause of action. While, some courts have considered violations of its provisions as evidence of bad faith, this approach has not yet been adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. "


Outcome: 01/13/2023 12  Order to Answer: No Amended Complaint having been filed by the 1/11/2023 deadline set by the Court, Defendant's Answer to the Complaint is now due and shall be filed by 1/25/2023. Signed by Judge Cathy Bissoon on 1/13/2023. Text-only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text-only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (sps) (Entered: 01/13/2023)
01/13/2023 13  ORDER FOR STATISTICAL CLOSING. The Court has been advised that the above captioned action has been settled, and the only matters remaining are the execution of the settlement document(s) and compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement. It appears that there is no further action required by the Court at this time. It is, accordingly, hereby ORDERED that the above-captioned case has been marked closed; that nothing contained in this Order shall be considered a dismissal or disposition of this action; and that, should further proceedings therein become necessary or desirable, any party may initiate the same in the identical manner as if this Order had not been entered. FURTHER, the Court expressly retains jurisdiction in this matter to consider any issue arising during the period when settlement is being finalized, including, but not limited to, enforcing settlement. Signed by Judge Cathy Bissoon on 1/13/2023. Text-only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text-only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (kly) (Entered: 01/13/2023)

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