Firm Successfully Overturns Lower Court Ruling Permitting Bad Faith Claim to be Joined with Insurer Breach of Contract for Nonpayment of the Claim

Steven G. Schwartz, Esq.
December 31, 2008

Insurers are increasingly faced with first party property lawsuits which sue not only for non payment of the claim but for bad faith extra-contractual damages and statutory causes of action under the Civil Remedy Notice or claims handling regulatory scheme as well. In a case of industry-wide importance, the firm won reversal of a lower court ruling permitting such bad faith claims to proceed in tandem with breach of contract causes of action. In North Pointe Insurance Company v. Tomas, 999 So.2d 728 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008), the Third District Court of Appeal rejected this joinder of claims as an essential departure from the requirements of the law protecting insurers against premature discovery of their work product claim investigation or financial discovery until a final judicial determination on the underlying breach of contract cause of action that a breach of the policy had occurred. Bad faith causes of action were deemed improper and must be dismissed or abated pending conclusion of the coverage claims in favor of an insured. See  a full copy of the decision.

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