MAY 2013 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT DENIES INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL BECAUSE INSURED FAILED TO CARRY HER BURDEN IN PROVING BAD FAITH (Philadelphia Federal)

In Davis v. State Farm Ins., the court heard an insured’s motion to amend the court’s opinion granting summary judgment to the carrier (see this post) to permit an Immediate Interlocutory Appeal. This case arose from the denial of coverage over the alleged theft of the insured’s vehicle. The carrier denied coverage after a month-long investigation yielded evidence that the insured’s vehicle entered a tow lot in the days prior to the alleged theft. The insured filed suit, alleging bad faith, breach of contract and defamation. The district court denied these claims and granted the carrier’s motion for summary judgment, denying the insured’s cross motion.
Turning to the instant motion, the court denied the insured’s attempt to seek an interlocutory appeal. Although the bad faith and defamation issues raised controlling questions of law, there were not substantial grounds for a difference of opinion on appeal. First, the court reasoned that the insured merely failed to sustain her burden in proving bad faith, preventing an interlocutory appeal because there was no room for a difference of opinion. Second, the court denied an interlocutory appeal on the insured’s defamation claim. Although the issue was less clear because of no authority from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, it ruled that the Superior Court has found an absolute privilege for the accusation of a crime made to law enforcement officials for the purpose of bringing criminal charges. As such, there was no substantial room for disagreement with the court’s opinion.
Date of Decision: February 28, 2013
Davis v. State Farm Ins., No. 11-cv-3401, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28209, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (E.D. Pa. Feb. 28, 2013) (Joyner, C.J.)