On 14 May 2021, the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Arkansas ruled in favor of a plaintiff against the corresponding New Hampshire Insurance Company ("New Hampshire") in the amount of $ 300,000.00 1 The course leading to this judgment is interesting, as they are not the result of a jury trial or a bench trial. Instead, the judgment stemmed from the New Hampshire voluntary offer to recognize the judgment in the amount of $ 300,000.00. This followed a multi-year trial, during which time New Hampshire denied all responsibility for the policyholder's allegations of breach of contract and failure to act in good faith and with fair trade. It is not surprising that New Hampshire continued to deny all responsibility to the bitter end, even in its offer to recognize them; However, the fact that it offered to pay the plaintiff $ 300,000.00 is telling, since it previously offered to pay $ 0.00.
This is not the first time a judgment has been rendered against the New Hampshire Insurance Company for the policyholder's breach of the contract claim. In May 2009, New Hampshire participated in a four-day trial in a case in which New Hampshire sued its own policyholder seeking a declaration. New Hampshire had not violated an insurance contract. The policyholder, in turn, claimed that New Hampshire violated the insurance contract. The jury agreed with the policyholder and awarded the policyholder $ 1,750,000.00 in damages. 2
On August 30, 2017, a U.S. District Court Judge in Michigan granted a policyholder a summary judgment proposal for a breach of contract against the New Hampshire Insurance Company. 3 The judge considered competing proposals for a summary judgment, one filed by the policyholder and the other filed by New Hampshire, with each party asking the court to determine the correct interpretation of the insurance contract. The policyholder asked the court to find coverage through an approval, while New Hampshire asked the court to deny coverage through an exclusion. The Court agreed with the policyholder's interpretation and found that New Hampshire's interpretation of the exclusive provision relied on was incorrect. Referring to New Hampshire, the court stated: "Simply put, the defendant's interpretation is contrary to the clear language of the agreement." 4 The judgment was then awarded in favor of the policyholder and against New Hampshire in the amount of $ 269,801.52. 5
Judgment becomes a matter of general record; therefore on May 14, 2021 recently, the verdict against New Hampshire is available for all to see, as are the other two. Although these do not even demonstrate a New Hampshire pattern or practice of incorrectly denying benefits to their policyholders, they are indeed evidence of a history of incorrect denials from New Hampshire and could be used in the future to assist policyholders whose claims with New Hampshire has been denied incorrectly.
1 Crawford-Sebastian Cmty. Dev. Council, Inc. v New Hampshire Ins. Co. No. 2: 19-cv-02128 (W.D. Ark. 14 May 2021).
2 New Hampshire Ins. Co. v. Blue Water Off Shore, LLC No. 07-0754 (S.D. Ala. May 19, 2009).
3 Shoreline Growers, Inc. vs. New Hampshire Ins. Co. No. 1:16-cv-1124 (W.D. Mich. August 30, 2017).
4 Id. At 10
5 Shoreline Growers, Inc. vs. New Hampshire Ins. Co. No. 1:16-cv-1124 (W.D. Mich. September 18, 2017).