. .

Invest in your success.
JVRA helps lawyers win cases by providing critical information you can use to establish precedent, determine demand and win arguments.



U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

This was a subrogation action brought by the plaintiff excess insurance carrier against the defendant primary carrier which had issued a $1 million liability policy limit to the defendant in the underlying personal injury action. The plaintiff alleged that it became liable for a $2.5 million award which it was forced to pay as a result of the defendant’’s failure to settle the underlying action within the primary policy limits. The defendant argued that it used reasonable judgment in taking the underlying action to trial as the impact was light and there was a reasonable issue as to whether the underlying plaintiff’’s medical condition was causally related to the accident.

The plaintiff, Royal Insurance Company of America, was the excess insurance carrier for Steven J. Duddey and ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Duddey and ICN were defendants in an underlying action stemming from a rear-end collision. The court in the underlying action granted the plaintiff’’s motion for summary judgment several months before trial and, therefore, Duddey and ICN were deemed to be ________% liable for the accident. The defendant Fireman’’s Fund Insurance Company was the primary insurance carrier for Duddey and ICN. Fireman’’s Fund declined to settle the underlying suit within its $1 million policy limits, although the plaintiff in the underlying suit requested that the policy limits be tendered.

The underlying action was tried with a jury verdict of $________. After appellate motions were filed, the underlying action settled for $________. The first million was covered by the primary policy issued by the defendant Fireman’’s Fund. The plaintiff Royal Insurance paid an additional $________ as the excess carrier. The plaintiff Royal Insurance company then brought this action on an equitable subrogation claim of bad faith. The plaintiff argued that the defendant should have settled the underlying suit within the policy limits as it had a good faith duty to investigate, evaluate and settle the underlying claim.

The underlying plaintiff claimed to have sustained a disc herniation at the C6-C7 level necessitating surgery as well as a low back injury. He was a 41-year-old security guard at the time of the collision. The underlying plaintiff claimed his neck and back injuries permanently prevented him from returning to work and that he suffered a diminished future earning capacity as a result of the accident. The plaintiff contended that the evidence against the defendants in the underlying case clearly showed that the defendant had several opportunities to settle the case before trial.

The plaintiff stressed that the court had already granted the underlying plaintiff’’s motion for summary judgment and that the defendant’’s own independent medical examiner determined that the underlying plaintiff was permanently disabled and his neck and back injuries and surgeries were a result of the accident. The plaintiff insurance company argued that the underlying plaintiff’’s damages were uncontested and that prior to trial, defense counsel reported that the plaintiff’’s economist would testify to $1.3 million in economic damages.

The plaintiff called an insurance expert who testified that the defendant breached its own codes and standards by not properly evaluating, investigating and settling the underlying action although it had several opportunities to do so. The defendant argued that it made a reasonable decision not to settle the underlying action. The defense contended that the accident was low impact and there was a genuine issue as to whether the impact could have caused the injuries claimed by the plaintiff in the underlying case. The jury found for the plaintiff insurance company in the amount of $________, which included the $2.5 million paid on the underlying claim plus interest. Post-trial motions are pending.

To read the full article, please login to your account or purchase

5 ways to win with JVRA

JVRA gives you jurisdiction-specific, year-round insight into the strategies, arguments and tactics that win. Successful attorneys come to the table prepared and use JVRA to:

  1. Determine if a case is winnable and recovery amounts.
  2. Determine reasonable demand for a case early on.
  3. Support a settlement demand by establishing precedent.
  4. Research trial strategies, tactics and arguments.
  5. Defeat or support post-trial motions through past case histories.

Try JVRA for a day or a month, or sign up for our deluxe Litigation Support Plan and put the intelligence of JVRA to work for all of your clients. See our subscription plans.