Jon Bukowski tried to explain to me how he, Larry Bache and Mike Duffy won a bad faith jury verdict against GuideOne Mutual Insurance Company.1 He told me it was because of Mike Duffy’s audition skills and “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the bad faith findings in an opinion filed yesterday.
The case concerned property damage to a church. An independent adjuster was assigned to adjust the loss for GuideOne. Jon shared that he took the video deposition of GuideOne’s desktop adjustment. The desktop adjuster agreed that the appointed independent adjuster was the “eyes and ears” of GuideOne. Obviously, the credentials and skills of the independent adjuster are important. So, Jon asked how the independent adjuster was chosen. The response was “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”;
As a closing argument, Mike Duffy made a great point that indifference to making a property adjustment in time and correctly. The adjustment all came as a result of a claims culture of choices to pay or not to pay based on “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
Larry Bache successfully argued the case before the Court of Appeals. The opinion noted how flippant the GuideOne adjuster was regarding payment timeliness:
In April 2018, US General sent GuideOne an invoice for $91,000 in repairs. That same day, a representative from GuideOne said “the check will be in the mail” — an apparent concession that the policy covered those repairs. But the check never came… Although GuideOne doesn’t dispute that the policy covered $91,000, it wasn’t paid until October 2018, six months after US General sent the bill.
We have staff and attorneys from all over the country in Tampa celebrating our party. This trial and appeal victory will certainly be cause for a champagne toast.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song over hoarded gold, it would be a happier world.
1 US General LLC v. Guideone Mut. ins. Co.No. 22-1145 (10th Cir. Dec. 12, 2022).