AUGUST 2011 BAD FAITH CASES UNSUPPORTED CONCLUSIONS PLEADED BY COUNSEL CANNOT MEET CLEAR AND CONVINCING STANDARD ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Philadelphia Commerce Court)

In Dawson v. Utica First Insurance Company, plaintiff’s seventh amended complaint included a statutory bad faith count.  The carrier brought a summary judgment motion.  The court observed that bad faith conduct required that plaintiff prove her case with clear and convincing evidence.  In this case, plaintiff offered no evidence, but rather relied upon the legal conclusions pleaded by her lawyer, in opposing summary judgment.  The Commerce Court concluded that the plaintiff had in no way presented any evidence that could clearly and convincing persuade the court of statutory bad faith [N.B. there is no jury trial right on bad faith claims in Pennsylvania’s state courts], and thus failed to create a triable issue of material fact.  Summary judgment was entered for the carrier.

Date of Decision:  April 4, 2011

Dawson v. Utica First Insurance Company, Jan. Term 2009, No 3139, 2011 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 164 (C.C. P. Phila. April 4, 2011) (New, J.) (Commerce Program)