United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
HEATON CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
McKinney (“McKinney”), as mother and next friend
of Tallie McKinney, then a minor, filed this action against
defendants Progressive Direct Insurance Company
(“Progressive”) and CSAA General Insurance
Company (“CSAA”), alleging breach of contract and
bad faith. Tallie McKinney (“Tallie”) has since
reached her majority and has been substituted as the
plaintiff. CSAA has moved for summary judgment on
plaintiff's bad faith claim.
judgment is warranted “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Material facts are those which
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine
“if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
To determine whether this standard is met, the court views
the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. Estate of Booker v. Gomez, 745 F.3d 405, 411
(10th Cir. 2014). “[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c)
mandates entry of summary judgment . . . against a party who
fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case, and on
which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-23 (1986).
26, 2017, Tallie was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her
friend Sierra Shannon (“Shannon”). Shannon caused
a single-car accident. As a result Tallie suffered injuries,
including fractures of her right arm and pelvis, which
was the named insured on an insurance policy issued by CSAA.
Tallie was identified as a driver on the CSAA policy. Both
Shannon and the vehicle she was driving were insured under an
insurance policy issued by Progressive. Progressive offered
plaintiff the full $100, 000 limit of liability coverage,
which plaintiff accepted in exchange for a
submitted a claim to CSAA seeking
benefits. CSAA evaluated plaintiff's claim and determined
the total evaluation range was $108, 482.88 - $118, 482.88.
CSAA then extended an offer to plaintiff's counsel in the
amount of $8, 482.88. Plaintiff rejected this offer without
making a counter-offer or discussing CSAA's evaluation
further. A few months later, plaintiff filed this case
alleging breach of contract and bad faith claims against CSAA
the course of discovery in this lawsuit, additional
documentation was provided to CSAA for its ongoing review in
connection with plaintiff's UM/UIM claim, and CSAA
re-evaluated the claim and determined a new range of $133,
888.04 to $158, 888.04. CSAA then extended a new offer to
plaintiff in the amount of $33, 888.04.CSAA never
received a response from plaintiff or her counsel.
Plaintiff asserts that CSAA's initial evaluation and
offer were unreasonable and were made in bad faith.
Specifically, plaintiff contends that CSAA failed to conduct
a reasonable investigation into plaintiff's claim, failed
to perform a reasonable evaluation, and failed to promptly
pay plaintiff's claim. CSAA contends that its
investigation and evaluation of plaintiff's UM/UIM claim
was reasonable and the subject of a legitimate value dispute
between the parties.
insurer has an implied duty to deal fairly and act in good
faith with its insured and . . . the violation of this duty
gives rise to an action in tort . . . .” Christian
v. Am. Home Assurance Co., 577 P.2d 899, 904 (Okla.
1978). Further, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has recognized:
there can be disagreements between insurer and insured on a
variety of matters such as insurable interest, extent of
coverage, cause of loss, amount of loss, or breach of policy
conditions. Resort to a judicial forum is not per se bad
faith or unfair dealing on the part of the insurer regardless
of the outcome of the suit. Rather, tort liability may be
imposed only where there is a clear showing that the insurer
unreasonably, and in bad faith, withholds payment of the
claim of its insured.
Id. at 905.
order to establish a bad faith claim, an insured “must
present evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude
that the insurer did not have a reasonable good faith belief
for withholding payment of the insured's claim.”
Oulds v. Principal Mut. Life Ins. Co., 6 F.3d 1431,
1436 (10th Cir. 1993). In order to determine whether the
insurer acted in good faith, the insurer's actions must
be evaluated in light of the facts the insurer knew or should
have known at ...