Recently, the federal District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania addressed an evolving discovery issue in an insurance bad faith case. Platt v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., NO. 11-4067 (E.D.Pa. Nov. 16, 2011) (mem.) deals with a claim by an insured for benefits under the Financial Responsibility Law after she was injured in a car accident. As part of her court case she filed a count for statutory bad faith under Section 8371. During discovery her counsel sought material from the insurance company which pertains to instructions and procedures for adjusting claims. The insurance company objected arguing that the materials were not relevant and also privileged and confidential.
The District Court finds that the claims manuals and other materials used to process the Plaintiff's claims may be relevant to the bad faith counts and orders the insurance company to produce any material pertaining to instructions and procedures for adjusting claims. The reasoning for the opinion and order is that the manuals and procedures may be relevant if it requires an adjustor to take certain investigative steps before adjusting a claim and the plaintiff can then show the steps were deliberately omitted. In order to make sure the request is not overbroad the court limits the order to "instructions and procedures for adjusting claims and which was given to adjustors who worked on [Plaintiff's] claim."
For a copy of the opinion feel free to contact Scott Cooper at SchmidtKramer Injury lawyers.
Scott B. Cooper
Schmidt Kramer PC
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