Patrick Bousquet and Jonathan Morrow, both attorneys with Knight Nicastro MacKay, LLC in Saint Louis, recently tackled the hot-button topic of first-party coverage litigation in an article for the Defense Research Institute (DRI), a high-profile organization composed of defense attorneys and in-house counsel.
Bousquet focuses his practice on insurance/bad faith matters and commercial litigation both at the trial and appellate level. Morrow litigates pre-suit cases and active litigation in multiple states. Both attorneys bring in-depth insight into a complex legal practice area.
Identifying bad faith and refusal to pay
“Moving the Line: Admissibility of Insurer’s Post-suit Settlement Negotiations and Other Conduct” details the trends and best practices of securing settlement negotiations and claim file materials following the filing of a lawsuit and subsequently using that information to show bad faith or outright refusal to pay.
In the piece, the attorneys cite a case in Missouri. An appellate court facilitated a process where the jury received vital information on post-suit settlement discussions and other types of claim handling. The state’s court of appeals ruled that this type of evidence is relevant and admissible and should be provided to give context to the jury on the insurer’s UM limits.
Bousquet and Morrow assert that first-party matters turned over to counsel upon filing a lawsuit is a thing of the past. The role of claim handlers has never been more critical in these types of legal matters. Ongoing awareness of the post-suit negotiations and claim handling admissibility is of paramount importance for insurers and their attorneys, if not an obligation to conduct claim investigations and settlement negotiations in good faith.
The complete text of the article can be found here.