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April 2014 Bad Faith Cases: Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Consider Issue Of Whether Bad Faith Claim Can Be Assigned

In Wolfe v. Allstate Property Casualty Ins. Co., Judge Jones of the Middle District held that statutory bad faith claims could be assigned. This runs contrary to rulings in the Eastern District, holding that such claims cannot be assigned; one of which decisions, Feingold v. Liberty Mutual Group, was upheld in a non-precedential opinion from the Third Circuit three weeks ago, in which the Panel commended Judge Bartle’s detailed reasoning in concluding that Pennsylvania law does not permit such assignments.

However, in the Third Circuit appeal of Judge Jones’ decision in Wolfe, that Panel petitioned the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for certification of the following question of law: “Under Pennsylvania law, can an insured tortfeasor assign his or her bad faith claim against an insurer, under 42 Pa.C.S. § 8371, to an injured third party?”  Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted the Petition, and will hear the matter in Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Jared Wolfe, No. 39 MAP 2014.  Our thanks again to the Tort Talk blog for bringing this latest development to our attention.

Date of Decision:  April 24, 2014

Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Wolfe, No. 23 MM 2014, 2014 Pa. LEXIS 1044 (Pa. April 24, 2014) (Per Curiam), transferred as Case No. 39 MAP 2014.

On December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled section 8371 claims are assignable.