Joseph M. Toddy Wins Defense Verdict in Breach of Contract/Insurance Bad Faith Matter
Mr. Toddy successfully defended a breach of contract/insurance bad faith case in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. In a bifurcated trial, a jury entered a judgment of “no cause of action” on plaintiffs’ claims of breach of contract obviating the need for a bench trial on the bad faith issues.
The plaintiffs’ car was damaged in a motor vehicle collision. Immediately following the collision, the insurance company, defended by Toddy, paid for repairs to the vehicle, treating the matter as a covered collision loss. When plaintiffs were not satisfied with the repairs, they returned the vehicle to the body shop. At that point, the defendant company approved and paid for supplemental repairs. Several months later, plaintiffs presented the company with a report and a claim that the repairs were done improperly and that the car was devalued as a result thereof. The company denied any further benefits under the policy indicating to the plaintiffs that their problem was with the body shop who performed the repairs.
Several years later, the plaintiffs instituted a claim against the carrier alleging that the company breached the insurance contract by failing to compensate them for the alleged faulty repairs under the comprehensive portion of the policy. In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that the failure to so compensate them was a breach of the carrier’s duty of good faith and fair dealing and constituted bad faith pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. §8371. In the carrier’s defense, Mr. Toddy argued that the carrier properly treated the claim as a collision claim and paid for the damages according to the policy. The jury agreed finding that there was no breach of the insurance policy when the carrier refused to pay any further benefits.