In Blitshtein v. Hartford Fire Insurance Company, the plaintiff claimed that the carrier intentionally withheld documents from its own expert in an effort to win a UIM arbitration. The evidence supporting this allegation came out during a November 6, 2003 arbitration hearing. The plaintiffs did not file their bad faith claim until November 8, 2005. The federal trial court focused on the denial of coverage as triggering the two year statute of limitations. Although the carrier brought a judgment on the pleadings, the court would have considered a letter declining coverage, attached to the answer but not the complaint, as sufficiently integral to the bad faith claim to be part of the record in deciding the judgment on the pleadings. The court found that even without considering this letter (dated nearly five years before the bad faith action was filed), however, there was still no dispute that the plaintiffs knew that the carrier denied coverage at a time sufficiently prior to the November 6, 2003 hearing as to be barred by the two year statute of limitations.
Date of decision: April 7, 2006