The plaintiff refused to accept that the liability insurer defends the insured but never retains a lawyer to pursue a claim for damages on behalf of the insured
After a car accident involving Neco Moss, Juan Manuel Orozco, Robert Henry Hartman and two other drivers on Highway 210 east in Fontana, California, Orozco crossed a double yellow line to enter the relatively low-speed car lane in the path of Hartman’s truck. Hartman hit Orozco’s vehicle, Orozco hit Moss’ vehicle, Moss hit a fourth vehicle and the fourth vehicle hit a fifth. Moss sued Hartman and Orozco and a jury found that Hartman was not negligent and found that Orozco had been negligent but did not award damages. Moss appealed that verdict in a series, and the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict.
IN Neco Moss v. 21st Century Insurance Company, E074487, California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division (April 7, 2022) Moss claimed that the 21st Century deceived him by refusing to provide a lawyer to sue the other drivers involved in the accident.
Moss joined 21st Century in the trial of the drivers. The 21st Century was eventually suspended, and after extensive quarrels, the case against the 21st Century was reduced to a single cause of action for fraud. Moss claims that 21st Century falsely presented to him that they would hire a lawyer to sue the other drivers. The trial judge found indisputable evidence that Moss could not show the elements of trust, reasonable trust, causation or damages required for a fraud case, and handed down a summary judgment for the 2000s.
Moss, who represented himself in an appeal that he made in the district court, appealed the decision on summary judgment. As he did in his appeal of the judgment in favor of the drivers, Moss spends a lot of time arguing that the drivers and other insurance companies should not have been allowed to defend themselves because the district court previously issued third-party judgments against them in the case of failure to respond to earlier versions of the complaint. time. However, the district court quashed these omissions and the district court reasonably refused to reintroduce them.
Moss reported a claim to 21st Century, which settled with Scott for property damage and demanded compensation via subrogation against the other drivers’ insurance companies in arbitration. 21st Century also paid medical payments to Moss and paid for Moss car rental. Regardless, Moss, who was duly indemnified by the 21st century, claimed fraud. The only question in the summary judgment was whether the evidence was sufficient to proceed to the trial of Moss’ action against the 21st Century – whether they had committed fraud by telling Moss that they would hire a lawyer to sue the other drivers on his on behalf of.
Adjuster’s McGann and Grimley explained that in the late 2014s, the 2000s received copies of lawsuits that Moss had filed against the other drivers, their insurance companies and other parties, and represented that there was no indication that Moss had been sued by any of the these parties so no action needed defense. Grimley said that Moss called 21st Century again on January 26, 2015 and reported that he had gone to a court hearing in his trial and complained that no one from 21st Century had turned up to represent him.
21st Century supported a summary judgment based on Moss’ failure to establish that he had in a malicious manner relied on the representation, reasonably relied on it or that the promise caused Moss harm. They claimed that he could not show that he trusted his disadvantage because he actually prosecuted the case on his own and had a full jury trial.
Moss did not show that any promise had caused him harm or that he had suffered harm, because he actually sued Hartman and Orozco on his own and the jury left a verdict that found Orozco responsible, but that Moss had not suffered any harm.
The trial judge granted 21st Century’s motion and later issued a written decision to 21st Century met its initial burden in the matters of damages, causation and damages, and the plaintiff fails to provide evidence that addresses any disputed questions of material facts in response.
21st Century questioned Moss’ allegation of fraud because he could not establish significant parts of the allegation. The parts of fraud are:
- a misrepresentation (false representation, concealment or duty of confidentiality);
- scientists or knowledge of its falsity;
- intention to evoke trust;
- justified trust; and
- resulting damage. (Lazar v Supreme Court (1996) 12 Cal.4th 631, 638.)
The policy and the declarations of two adjusters denied the misrepresentation and the legitimate elements of trust that were essential to Moss’ allegations of fraud and shifted the burden on Moss to state the specific facts that show that there is a probable question of material facts about these elements. To address a factual issue, Moss submitted his own statement, claiming that a truth-teller could conclude that the 21st century had promised to advise him in prosecuting the other drivers.
In his statement, Moss said he contacted 21st Century when he first filed the claim for coverage. He said at the time that 21st Century assured him, “he did not need to hire a lawyer because they would hire one for him.” However, that representation is not inconsistent with 21st Century’s assertion and does not fill the gap by providing evidence that they promised to provide Moss with a lawyer to prosecute claim against a third party to recover damages after successfully defending him against liability.
The Court of Appeal concluded that the trial judge correctly granted a summary judgment in favor of the 21st century. He presented evidence that he misunderstood the obligations of the 21st century under the policy, but there is no basis for a fraud allegation.
It’s time for trial and appeal judges to dismiss frivolous lawsuits and appeals filed by pro se plaintiffs who do not seem to have any idea what insurance does and what promises are made by an insurance company. The courts should stop them from suing an insurance company for failing to provide a service not promised in the policy. This whole trial and appeal was idiotic, brought on by a person who had no idea what he was doing, and wasted his time with a trial and an appellate court, not to mention the amounts paid by the insurer to defend himself against a insured who had received all the benefits promised by the policy.
(c) 2022 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his internship to the position of insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as a lawyer for insurance coverage and claims management and more than 54 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and email@example.com.
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