Plaintiff in this case was a woman in her 40’s who obtained a large judgment after a jury trial in a civil case. The defendant’s insurance company refused to pay the judgment, claiming there was no coverage.
The law offices of Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP obtained the large judgment in the underlying case in the jury trial, and then received an “assignment” of the defendant’s rights and sued the insurance company to attempt to recover the judgment.
The insurance company alleged that all of the plaintiff’s injuries were due to the intentional misconduct of the defendant; therefore, they had a valid basis due to intentional act policy for denying coverage. Further, they alleged that the defendant in the underlying case had lied on his insurance application and if he had told the truth, they would have never insured him and that they brought an action to rescind, i.e., cancel, the insurance policy which would have relieved them from responsibility of paying any of plaintiff’s damages.
The law offices of Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, took the position that although the defendant did perpetrate a number of intentional acts, he also committed just as many acts of negligence; that there was testimony at the trial that the plaintiff’s injuries stemmed from the negligent acts and the fact that the insurance company offered no money indicated that they did not even attempt to make an allocation between the damages flowing from the negligent and intentional misconduct which was constituted bad faith under California law. Further, the law firm claimed that the questions which the defendant claimed their insured lied on his insurance application were vague questions and that his answers, though not completely forthright, were within the bounds of truthfulness.
RESULT: $2,000,000 settlement on behalf of plaintiff