Lori Miller successfully convinced Judge Baylson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to dismiss Plaintiff’s bad faith claim in the initial pleadings stage of litigation.
Plaintiff was a full tort off-duty Philadelphia police officer that was rear-ended by an uninsured driver. The 37-year-old mother of three was taken from the accident scene to the emergency room for complaints of back pain. The Plaintiff’s family doctor recommended therapy, which she went on to receive over the course of nine months. During that time period, she had a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon and an MRI of her lower back which confirmed disc protrusions in her lumbar spine. Plaintiff made a claim against her insurer for uninsured motorist benefits. After rejecting her insurer’s initial offer, Plaintiff filed suit for breach of contract and statutory bad faith alleging that the insurer failed to properly investigate the claim, reasonably negotiate the claim and request an independent medical examination. Defense counsel filed a motion to dismiss, pointing out that Plaintiff’s allegations were simply conclusory boilerplate allegations of bad faith that were not supported by any factual allegations.
Agreeing with Defendant, the Court ruled that the facts pleaded did not set a plausible claim as there were no facts pleaded shedding light of the insurer’s reasonableness in not negotiating or conducting a medical examination, and there were no facts pleaded that it “knew or recklessly disregarded its lack of a reasonable basis in denying the claim.”
Once the bad faith claim was dismissed, the case was remanded to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas where Joseph Petka received a defense verdict on factual cause.