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Hughes and Van Nort Sustain Summary Judgment on Appeal in Favor of Insurer in Bad Faith Suit

May 21, 2020

Peter Hughes (Partner-San Diego) and Kelly Van Nort (Of Counsel-San Diego) defended an insurer that had issued an automobile policy containing uninsured and underinsured coverage (UIM) in a bad faith action after the insured was involved in an automobile accident. After settling with the third-party driver, the insured demanded policy limits under the UIM policy, and at arbitration was awarded approximately one quarter of his demand. The insured, however, filed the bad faith action alleging his insurer failed to properly investigate the UIM claim and delayed payment owed under the UIM policy. Peter and Kelly successfully moved for summary judgment in the bad faith action arguing that there was no bad faith because there was a genuine dispute as to coverage under the UIM policy. On appeal, the appellant sought to overturn the summary judgment arguing that the trial court’s decision was based on unreliable evidence presented to the arbitrator in the underlying UIM arbitration. Peter and Kelly successfully argued the appellant did not raise these arguments in the lower court and that the evidence presented established there was a genuine dispute as to coverage. Accordingly, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld summary judgment in favor of the insurer.

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