SAN DIEGO (August 23, 2010) –Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP announced today that partners Peter Klee and Charles Danaher recently obtained a complete defense verdict for Deerbrook Insurance Company in a “bad faith failure to settle” case filed by plaintiff Yan Fang Du.
Du sued Deerbrook based on the allegation that Deerbrook had unreasonably failed to settle a personal injury claim against its insured. Du alleged that Deerbrook was given an opportunity to settle the claim for the policy’s $100,000 limit, but refused to do so. Because Deerbrook did not settle, the claim against its insured went to trial, resulting in a $5 million judgment against the insured. Du, who received an assignment of the insured’s rights against Deerbrook, sued Deerbrook for bad faith, claiming that Deerbrook should be held liable for the full amount of the $5 million judgment.
Deerbrook denied those allegations and claimed that it did not have a reasonable opportunity to settle Du’s claims for the policy limits and that it was not responsible for the $5 million judgment that was rendered against its insured. After a six-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Deerbook after just 28 minutes.
“Usually, insurance companies are not willing to take a ‘failure to settle’ case to trial,” said Kurt Kicklighter, Luce Forward’s managing partner. “A defense verdict in this type of case is unusual so we are thrilled with the result.”
Klee and Danaher are partners in Luce Forward’s Insurance Litigation practice group. The group, which has been recognized by Chambers USA as one of the leading Insurance Litigation practices in California, has an unparalleled track record in court. It has defended more than 1,500 lawsuits and obtained defense verdicts on the merits in more than 500 cases, including 50 cases in the past year alone. In addition, the group has handled dozens of jury trials in litigation arising out of natural catastrophes and obtained defense verdicts in 100 percent of those trials.
About Luce Forward
Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP is a full-service California law firm with a national reputation in more than 30 different areas of law. Since its founding in San Diego in 1873, Luce Forward has grown to become home to approximately 200 attorneys in six offices statewide including San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angles, Carmel Valley/Del Mar, Orange County and Rancho Santa Fe. For more information, visit www.luce.com.