United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Richard Caputo United States District Judge
before me is the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on all
Claims of Bad Faith (Doc. 35) filed by Defendant Protective
Insurance Company (“Defendant”). For the reasons
that follow, the motion for judgment on the pleadings will be
facts as alleged in the Amended Complaint are outlined in
detail in my October 10, 2017 Opinion denying Defendant's
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the claims of bad faith in
the Amended Complaint. (See Doc. 30,
generally). Briefly, Plaintiff Thomas Meyers
(“Plaintiff”) alleges that he sustained serious
injuries after he was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle while
delivering boxes for his employer which had an automobile
insurance policy issued by Defendant. (See id. at
1). Plaintiff provided Defendant with notice of his uninsured
motorist claim in April 2014. (See id. at 1-2).
the next fourteen (14) months, Defendant sent correspondence
to Plaintiff's counsel on several occasions requesting
updates on the status of his injury. (See Doc. 34,
¶ 28 and Ex. “A”). Defendant also requested
authorization to obtain Plaintiff's workers'
compensation file in these correspondence, but Plaintiff
never provided such authorization. (See id.).
about February 1, 2016, Plaintiff provided Defendant with a
damages package. (See Doc. 30, 2). Thereafter, on
March 9, 2016, Plaintiff asked Defendant to advise him of the
status of the review of his claim, but Defendant failed to do
so. (See id.). Rather, Defendant's adjuster
responded to Plaintiff that her final report would be
submitted to management over the weekend and she would advise
Plaintiff of Defendant's position as soon as possible.
(See id.). Defendant's adjuster did not advise
Plaintiff of the status of the review as promised. (See
id.). Plaintiff again requested Defendant provide him a
report on the status of his claim evaluation on March 31,
2016, but that request was ignored. (See id.). On
April 18, 2016, Plaintiff provided Defendant with a blanket
authorization to obtain certain investigative records.
wrote to Defendant on April 20, 2016 as follow up to an
earlier email and multiple voice messages regarding the
status of his claim. (See id.). Defendant's
adjuster responded that the review meeting was not yet on her
calendar. (See id.). Despite subsequently informing
Plaintiff that she would find out when the claim would be
reviewed, the adjuster failed to provide this information to
Defendant. (See id.).
left several voice messages for Defendant's adjuster
during the week of May 8, 2016 requesting an update on the
status of Defendant's investigation, to which
Defendant's adjuster responded on May 18, 2016 that she
still did not have a calendar date for review of
Plaintiff's claim. (See id. at 2-3). After
multiple requests, Defendant finally provided Plaintiff with
a copy of its investigative file on May 24, 2016. (See
id. at 3). Plaintiff contacted the adjuster's
supervisor the following day regarding Defendant's
failure to provide a settlement offer or otherwise
communicate regarding the status of its investigation.
(See id. at 3).
26, 2016, Defendant made its first settlement offer in the
amount of $225, 000.00. (See id. at 3). At the time
the offer was made, Defendant possessed medical lien and wage
loss documentation in an amount in excess of $122, 000.00.
(See id.). Defendant was also aware at that time
that Plaintiff's medical and wage loss liens were rapidly
increasing as Plaintiff was still unable to work and was
undergoing medical treatment. (See id.). The
following week, Defendant increased its settlement offer and
retained counsel to represent its interests in this matter.
(See id.). After counsel was retained, Defendant
over the next month requested three (3) medical evaluations
of Plaintiff, including two with orthopedic physicians.
9, 2016, Plaintiff advised Defendant that he would be willing
to settle his claim within the policy limits. (See
id.). A week later, Defendant wrote to Plaintiff stating
that he delayed in reporting the accident, that Plaintiff had
a “significant medical history”, that there was
only “minor property damage”, and that there were
“other relevant factors” that Defendant failed to
identify. (See id.).
on the foregoing, Plaintiffs filed this action against
Defendant in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County,
Pennsylvania on July 25, 2016. (See Doc. 1, Ex.
“A”). Defendant removed the action and moved to
dismiss the Complaint, (see Doc. 3,
generally), and that motion was granted in part and
denied in part, but Plaintiff was given leave to amend his
bad faith claim. (See Docs. 16-17,
generally). The Amended Complaint was filed on
February 17, 2017. (See Doc. 18,
again moved to dismiss Plaintiff's bad faith claims.
(See Doc. 19, generally). The motion was
denied and Plaintiff was permitted to proceed with his bad
faith claims in the Amended Complaint. (See Docs.
November 7, 2017, Defendant filed its Answer with Separate
Defenses to the Amended Complaint. (See Doc. 34,
generally). Attached as an exhibit to
Defendant's Answer are a series of emails between claims
adjusters employed by Defendant and Plaintiff's counsel.
(See id. at Ex. “A”).
filed the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) on February
14, 2018. (See Doc. 35, generally).
Although Defendant's previous motion to dismiss the bad
faith claims in the Amended Complaint was denied, Defendant
now contends that judgment on the pleadings is warranted
based on the contents of the Amended Complaint, the Answer,
and the exhibits attached to those pleadings. (See
Doc. 36, 9-19). More particularly, Defendant argues that
correspondence between Plaintiff's counsel and
Defendant's claim representatives prior to ...