June 23, 2010

WI Supreme Court Expands Reach of Insurance Doctrine of Bad Faith

Insured Can Sue Carrier Even If Judgement Exceeds Limit for Damages

WI Supreme Court Insurance Doctrine Bad Faith

Where an insurance carrier has control over the claims process and defense, an insured can sue the carrier on a claim of bad faith even if a judgment does not exceed the policy’s limit for damages, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently held.

In Roehl Transport, Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., 2010 WI 49 (June 22, 2010), Roehl Transport (Roehl) sued its insurance carrier Liberty Mutual (Liberty) on claims of bad faith arising from a personal injury suit against Roehl.In the personal injury suit, a jury awarded Arthur Groth $830,400 for injuries sustained when a Roehl truck rear-ended Groth’s car. The verdict was within the $2 million covered by Roehl’s insurance policy with Liberty, but cost Roehl its $500,000 deductible.

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