The Many Faces Of Multiple Liability Claims: Two Divergent Opinions From The Eleventh Circuit Court
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently released two opinions involving multiple liability claims against an insured with insufficient policy limits. Both cases involved appeals from summary judgment orders in bad faith cases granted in favor of the insurance company.
In Montanez v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 824 Fed.Appx. 905 (11th Cir. 2020), the appellate court affirmed the summary judgment order, but in Aldana v. Progressive American Ins. Co., No.19-12950, 2020 WL 5843711 (11th Cir., Oct. 1, 2020), the court reversed the order.
In Montanez, which was decided in August, the insured caused an automobile accident involving two other cars, which resulted in the death of the Plaintiff’s infant daughter and injured four other individuals to the extent that they were all hospitalized.
Within three days of the accident, Liberty Mutual’s claims representative informed the potentially insured driver that it would be in his best interest to retain counsel and initiated a coverage investigation, as he was not listed as an additional driver on the policy.
Six days post-accident, the adjuster learned that Plaintiff retained legal counsel and called the attorney’s office. She was told that she would need to call back later. Four more calls were made to counsel’s office by the adjuster over the following several weeks, but none were returned.