Appellate and Bad Faith Update

September 30, 2014 by on News

Fourth District Court of Appeal Holds Abatement of Bad Faith Claim Did not Warrant Certiorari Relief

In Safeco Ins. Co. of Ill. v. Beare, No. 4D13-3104 (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 17, 2014), the Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging both a claim for uninsured motorist benefits and first-party bad faith. The insurance carrier moved to dismiss the bad faith claim as premature. The trial court denied the carrier’s motion and abated the bad faith count.

The insurance carrier petitioned the Court for a writ of certiorari. It argued that it was irreparably harmed because the inclusion of the bad faith claim in the initial suit precludes it from later removing the case to federal court. It then argued that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of the law by not dismissing the claim for bad faith since it had not accrued and was wholly premature.

The Fourth District explained that the insurance carrier was indeed irreparably harmed because it could not later remove the bad faith case to federal court once it accrues. However, the Court held that the insurance carrier failed to establish the second prong for certiorari relief and the trial court did not depart from the essential requirements of the law by abating the claim. The trial court had the option of either abating or dismissing the bad faith claim.

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