In a lawsuit brought against ACE subsidiary Insurance Co. of North America by Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Co. U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson stated in 2011 that evidence against the insurer established a pattern of delaying payments on valid insurance claims.
ACE Unit Sued Over Stalled Workers’ Comp Payout
Jane Haney sued the ACE unit as well as a claims management firm that handled her case. She also named as a defendant the claims adjustor, in her petition that was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
Haney, who was described in the lawsuit as a “loyal and hard working employee” of Boeing Co., sustained an unspecified on-the-job injury on March 13, 2012. This led to a workers’ compensation claim, and ACE, the insurer, let it be handled by Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.
Sedgwick assigned Lori Hasty to the case. But she allegedly delayed paying Haney’s claim - and then deliberately underpaid the plaintiff.
Haney said she was forced to hire an attorney to assert her rights to workers’ compensation. She took the matter to the Industrial Commission of Arizona, and it ordered payment of benefits. The state board noted in its July 31 ruling that ACE presented no evidence against paying Haney, and in fact no one from the insurer even appeared at the hearing.
The Industrial Commission ordered payments to Haney to commence immediately. Still, Haney said, ACE refused to pay benefits.
ACE had a duty to deal fairly and in good faith with Haney, yet it allegedly breached that duty by refusing to properly investigate her claim and effectively deny payment for necessary medical care. The company further abused the litigation process and used the procedures of the Industrial Commission as a tool to delay, decrease and deny benefits.
Haney asked for unspecified punitive damages and recovery of expert witness and legal fees.
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