MAY 2013 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT DENIES INTERVENOR’S MOTION TO PLACE BAD FAITH SETTLEMENT IN ESCROW (Philadelphia County Common Pleas)

In Weist v. Pierce, the claimant, a police officer, was injured in an auto accident in the course of her employment. She settled with the negligent party for $625,000, a figure that took into consideration a bad faith claim against negligent parties’ insurance carrier. The officer’s employer filed an intervening motion to stay the distribution of the settlement proceeds, claiming that the entire settlement should be placed in escrow until it determined its subrogation interest under the Workers’ Compensation Act, 77 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 671.
The intervening employer appealed the trial court’s denial of the stay and the court wrote this opinion support of its decision. The court held that it was right to deny the employer’s motion and ordered the priority distribution of $358,000.000 to the officer’s attorney in accordance with the attorney fee agreement between her and counsel. The court placed the balance of the settlement proceeds in escrow, including a portion of the settlement paid in consideration of the officer’s agreement not to pursue a subsequent bad faith claim against the negligent parties’ carrier.
Date of Decision: March 22, 2013
Weist v. Pierce, August Term, 2010, No. 04851, 2013 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 71, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (C.C.P. Phila. 2013) (Quiñones Alejandro, J.)