Third Circuit Bars Expert Testimony About Violations of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act and the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations

Third Circuit Bars Expert Testimony About Violations of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act and the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations

April 2002

Third Circuit Bars Expert Testimony About Violations of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act and the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations

In Dinner vs. United Services Automobile Association Casualty Ins. Co., 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 3408 (3d Cir. February 27, 2002) the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision to bar the introduction into evidence of plaintiff’s expert testimony that the Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act and the Unfair Claims Practices Settlement Regulations set a standard of conduct for insurers and that USAA had deviated from that code of conduct by violating several of their provisions. The Court held that violations of the Act and Regulations do not establish bad faith and that the introduction of the alleged violations of the act would be highly prejudicial to USAA. Fineman and Bach believes that this very important decision can be used to try to prohibit the introduction of any reference to the Act and Regulations in any bad faith litigation.

For more information about this subject, please see the article entitled “Unfair Claims Settlement Practices (Regulations) And Privacy of Consumer Information (Regulations) -Their Potential Impact Upon Bad Faith Action” by Jay Barry Harris & Krista Frankina Fiore

 

Superior Court Upholds Arbitration Clause Requiring Plaintiffs to Submit Their Claims to Arbitration

In Huegel vs. Mifflin Construction Co. the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (No. 376 WDA 2001) upheld the enforceability of an arbitration clause in a Home Improvement & Installment Contract and Truth In Lending Disclosure. The plaintiffs entered into a contract for home improvements with defendant Mifflin Construction Co. The improvements were financed by defendant Conseco Finance Company. Plantiff’s sued alleging that defendants breached the home improvement contract and for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The defendants sought to compel the plaintiffs to arbitrate those claims since they all fell within the scope of the arbitration clause. The trial court found in favor of the plaintiffs but on appeal the Superior Court reversed finding that all of the claims were arbitrable.

For more information about this decision, please feel free to contact Jay Barry Harris.

 

Superior Court Allows Jury Trial For Breach Of Contract Claim Even Though Insured Has No Right To Jury Trial For Bad Faith Claim

The Pennsylvania Superior Court overturned the trial court’s decision and held that any party has the right to a jury trial for a breach of contract claim even though neither party has the right to a jury trial for a bad faith claim. Now, a jury and trial judge will hear all the evidence and then the jury will decide the contract claim and the trial judge will decide the bad faith claim. Petrecca vs. Allstate Insurance.

For more information about this decision, please feel free to contact Jay Barry Harris.