Significant Appellate And Published Decisions

Franks v. U.S.F.& G., 149 Ariz. 291, 718 P.2d 193 (Ct. App. 1985). The case which established the right of injured workers to bring an action for abusive claims handling by workers compensation insurance companies.

Bradshaw v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 157 Ariz. 411, 758 P.2d 1313 (1988). The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the jury's finding and held that if a liability insurance company initiates a lawsuit against the other driver as a defensive maneuver it can be liable for the tort of wrongful use of civil proceedings.

Deese v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 172 Ariz. 504, 838 P.2d 1265 (1992). The first case to clearly state that an insurance company can be liable for acting in bad faith even if it has not breached a written provision of the insurance contract.

Taylor v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 175 Ariz. 148, 854 P.2d 1134 (1993). A detailed discussion of how courts are to analyze a dispute over language in a release, concluding that a release of all "contractual" claims did not release Taylor's tort claim for bad faith.

Lopez v. Farmers Ins. Co., 177 Ariz. 371, 868 P.2d 964 (Ct. App. 1993). This case protects plaintiff-insureds from having their cases decided by jurors who are insured by the same company as the defendant, thereby preventing an appeal by the defendant-insurer to the self interest of any such juror over a threatened increase in their premiums as a result of a large verdict.

Taylor v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 185 Ariz. 174, 913 P.2d 1092 (1996). The first case in Arizona to establish that in a third-party bad faith case where there has been a verdict against the insured in excess of his or her policy limits, the time for bringing a bad faith action against the carrier does not begin to run until the underlying case is finalized.

Zilisch v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 196 Ariz. 234, 995 P.2d 276 (2000). This decision advanced the law for consumers in several respects, including holding that an insurance company's internal goals for reducing claim payments and incentivizing claims adjusters to hold down claim costs is relevant in determining whether there has been bad faith conduct.

Kelly v. Provident Life and Acc. Ins. Co., 695 F. Supp. 2d 149 (D. Vt. 2010). The federal court in Vermont found that the insured's claim for insurance bad faith deserved to be heard by a jury where there was evidence that the disability insurer terminated the insured's disability benefits by disregarding facts that supported her claim.

Nardelli v. Metro. Grp. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 230 Ariz. 592, 277 P.3d 789 (Ct. App. 2012). This long, hard fought case resulted in a finding that the insurance company enlisted the help of its claims department to greatly increase company profits by clamping down on claim payments.

Demetrulias v. WalMart, 917 F. Supp.2d 993 (D. Ariz. 2013). The federal court found that a jury should consider the evidence that WalMart, as a self-insurer for workers' compensation claims, mistreated its injured employee and the impact on fair claim handling caused by the company's internal goals for increasing the closure of claims.

Callies v. United Heritage Ins. Co., 2014 WL 1048846, Ariz. App., March 18, 2014. The insurance company was accused of recklessly suggesting fraud by its insureds, a retired couple who had just moved to Arizona, in connection with their claim following the theft of their moving truck containing all of their belongings. Contrary to the insurer's argument that Oregon law, which does not permit a claim for first-party bad faith, should apply, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that the insureds' loss and injury occurred in Arizona and the insurance company would need to answer to that state's insurance bad faith law.