NOVEMBER 2006 BAD FAITH CASES COURT HOLDS 3RD PARTY HAS NO STANDING TO BRING BAD FAITH ACTION AGAINST AUTOMOBILE INSURER (Philadelphia)

In Haynes v. State Farm Insurance Company, pro se Plaintiff Twila Haynes brought a bad faith suit in Philadelphia’s Municipal Court, alleging that State Farm refused to pay a claim which arose from a car accident.  The case was appealed to Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas.  The Court of Common Pleas sustained Defendant’s preliminary objections and dismissed all claims against Defendant with prejudice.   The Court sustained the preliminary objections on the basis that the complaint failed to state upon which relief could be granted.  The Court observed that the Complaint was signed by “Kelly Haynes,” and not Plaintiff Twila Haynes.  The Court remarked that if Twila Haynes was a third-party victim in this case, she had no direct action against the insurer of an alleged tortfeasor unless there was a statutory or policy provision which allowed such an action.  The Court determined that Plaintiff was not a third-party beneficiary of the contract of insurance between the insured and Defendant and she did not have an assignment from the insured which would allow her to pursue a bad faith claim against Defendant.  As the Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the Court sustained the preliminary objections and dismissed the action with prejudice.

Date of Decision:  October 11, 2006

Haynes v. State Farm Ins. Co., Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia County, April Term 2006, No. 2752, 2006 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 399 (Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. October 11, 2006) (Glazer, J.)