Insurer Can Point to Claimant's Conduct in Defense of Bad Faith Failure to Settle Claims

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U.S. District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

In Losat v. Geico Cas. Co., 2011 WL 5834689 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 21, 2011), the District Court granted summary judgment for Geico on a bad faith failure-to-settle claim based on the totality of the circumstances, including the conduct of the claimant.

The insured, Raghunadh Lnu, caused an accident that severely injured the third-party claimant, Shawn Losat. Geico attempted to offer Losat the full policy limits to settle the claim as soon as it learned of his identity and whereabouts, but Geico mistakenly came to believe that Theresa Losat, Losat's mother, was actually his wife. Losat's first attorney refused to settle for the policy limits and did not respond to Geico's offers except to refer Geico to Losat's second attorney. Losat's second attorney similarly refused offers to settle, and then alleged that Geico committed bad faith by not responding to a settlement demand and by issuing a release that mistakenly referred to Losat's mother as his wife – even though Geico subsequently attempted to correct the mistake.

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