Bad faith is the unreasonable failure of an insurance company to honor the terms of an insurance policy and deal with a policyholder in good faith. Insurance companies who are found to have acted in bad faith can be liable for punitive damages in addition to contract damages. Some states have bad faith statutes called "Unfair Insurance Claims Practices Acts."
ACE Group Unit Sues Workers’ Comp Client
The ACE Group unit claims it had sold workers’ compensation coverage to Meredith’s Market, a Berwyn, Pennsylvania catering business that employed Charles Till. While working on February 22nd, 2009, at a shopping mall in Wilmington, Delaware, Till was injured in a fall.
The complaint said that Till filed a workers’ compensation claim, and was paid $418 weekly starting March 6th, 2009. He returned to part-time work in April, and on November 16th, 2010, settled his claim with Penn Millers for $48,000.
As part of that agreement, Penn Millers claims that it was to maintain a subrogation lien against any recovery that Till might obtain against a third-party. He reportedly acknowledged that duty during a Pennsylvania state workers compensation court hearing.
The complaint states that in February, 2011, Till sued operators and owners of the Delaware mall where he sustained his injury. Penn Millers says that Till settled that state court action in 2012, receiving $150,000 and agreeing to hold those defendants free from any claims of reimbursement.
Penn Millers said that despite the prior agreement, Till and his attorneys, Brian Lutness and Silver McDonald and Friedman, refused to satisfy the subrogation lien. Penn Millers said it took the matter to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, where Judge Susan E. Kelley granted their petition and determined the insurer was due $74,166.75.
Including medical and indemnity benefits, Penn Miller said it spent $113,268.67 on the Till claim. It said it kept in contact with Till’s lawyers and they were aware of the subrogation, yet no payment has been made.
In its suit, filed in federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Penn Miller accused Till and the lawyers of common law conversion. The insurer asked the court to demand that they pay it the subrogation amount.
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