In a self-evident decision, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an insurance company’s failure to re-evaluate a case value after the trial court eliminated a key affirmative defense justified a bad faith failure to settle verdict.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Bamford, Inc. v. Regent Ins. Co., 822 F.3d 403 (8th Cir. 2016), held that the District Court had properly denied an insurance company’s post-verdict motions challenging the jury’s verdict in a bad faith failure to settle case and the evidence demonstrated that the insurer had failed to re-evaluate its settlement position after a trial court ruling in the underlying case eliminated a key affirmative defense.
The Eighth Circuit Court noted that the insurance company’s evidence that it had made multiple efforts to settle the case based on its evaluation of the case, continuously increased its reserves and offers in the settlement process, had followed the advice and valuations of the case of outside counsel as well as two mediators, and had discussed the claim value in multiple roundtable meetings with senior management was nevertheless insufficient to establish that the insurance company acted in good faith as a matter of law because the insurance company did not factor into its evaluation the trial court’s elimination of a key affirmative defense.
This case is too fact intensive to make it relevant beyond the general axiomatic statement that insurance companies and lawyers should always re-evaluate their case when significant developments occur.
Read the case at: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/16/05/151968P.pdf
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