Why is Adjusting Claims Not Getting Easier?
From the Montana Law Week, we read today that there has been a jury verdict in a Montana case alleging bad faith and violation of the UTPA (Unfair Trade Practices Act). The suit arose after Mountain West Farm Bureau denied payment on a homeowner's hail claim for damages from hail. The plaintiff asked for $60,000, the offer before the trial began from MWFB was $2,500. Evidently, MWFB inspected the roof two times, neither time was any visible hail damage found. The plaintiff's expert claimed that the organic backed asphalt roofing would not show the "typical" signs of hail damages, but was damaged none the less. The case went to trial and the jury awarded $10,000 compensatory damages, and a stipulation was negotiated to set the plaintiff attorney's fees and costs at $20,298.18. Judgement on the suit was $30,298.18....for a claim for a roof with no visible signs of damage. Fortunately, the punitive damages were dismissed during the second day of trial.
Zoanni v Mountain West Farm Bureau Ins.; Yellowstone DV 11-1223 (verdict 5/23/12)