DECEMBER 2006 BAD FAITH CASES
COURT AWARDS ATTORNEYS’ FEES TO INSURER ON COUNTERCLAIMS IN BAD FAITH CASE (Western District)
In Leach v. Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company, Plaintiff insured filed an action against Defendant insurer seeking payments under a disability insurance policy issued by Defendant. Plaintiff alleged breach of contract, bad faith and deceptive business practices, while Defendant filed a counterclaim for damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, misrepresentation and fraud. After a jury found in favor of Defendant on all claims and counterclaims, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted Defendant’s motion for attorneys’ fees, and directed Defendant to submit the amount of fees and costs of suit along with evidence in support thereof. Defendant’s attorney accordingly filed a petition for fees and costs with supporting affidavits and exhibits, to which Plaintiff filed no objections, nor in any way challenged it before the Court. In determining the award of attorneys’ fees, the Court used the “lodestar” formula, which requires that it multiply the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate, plus reasonable expenses. The Court granted Defendant’s petition for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs of suit, and awarded Defendant attorneys’ fees and costs in the total amount of $228,005.38.
Date of Decision: November 16, 2006
Leach v. Northwestern Mut. Ins. Co., The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, No. 01-2364, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83624 (W.D. Pa., November 16, 2006) (Cohill, J.)