August 2007 Bad Faith Cases Court Grants Insurer’s Motion For Summary Judgement After Plaintiff Fails To Establish A Claim For Bad Faith Delay (Western District)

 

In Ressler v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co., plaintiffs, co-executors of the estate of the deceased, sought to recover damages resulting from the alleged improper handling of a claim under a personal accident insurance policy purchased by the deceased when he rented a car in Alaska.  While some dispute over missing documents occurred, defendants did ultimately mail personal accident insurance benefit checks for the benefit of the Estates of the deceased.
Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims in there entirety.  Defendants argued that the bad faith claim failed because plaintiffs could not establish that the company acted in bad faith in processing their claim.  The defendants argued that undisputed evidence, in fact, showed they acted reasonably and in a timely manner in paying plaintiffs’ claims in full.  The court agreed with defendants in that no reasonable jury could conclude that plaintiffs had shown, by clear and convincing evidence, that defendants acted in bad faith in processing their claims.  Defendants paid plaintiffs’ claims in full within seven months of the accident and less than three months after plaintiffs submitted the necessary paperwork.  The court acknowledged that this circuit has held that far longer time periods did not support a claim for bad faith delay.  Therefore, defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment as to plaintiffs’ bad faith claim was granted.
Date of Decision: July 13, 2007.
Ressler v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co., United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, No. 06-562, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50967 (W.D. PA. July 13, 2007) (Ambrose, J.).