Walter v. Travelers Personal Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164012 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 29, 2016)
This case arose from a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2008 and dealt with Travelers’ handling of the plaintiff’s underinsured motorist (“UIM”) claim following that accident. The plaintiff was run over by a rollback truck that was being repossessed on behalf of the owner. The various participants in and witnesses to the accident provided conflicting versions of events regarding how the accident occurred. In one version, the plaintiff climbed onto the running board of the rollback truck, fell to the ground, and was run over by the rollback. As a result, the issue of liability went to arbitration. The arbitrators found that the plaintiff was 33 1/3% causally negligent for his injuries, and the UIM claim later settled. The plaintiff then pursued his statutory bad faith claim, contending primarily that Travelers had delayed its investigation of the UIM claim without a reasonable basis and had unreasonably refused to pay him UIM benefits. At the close of discovery, Travelers filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the court. The court found that the undisputed factual record amply supported Travelers’ defense that “certain ‘red flags’ existed that justified it undertaking a thorough investigation into the cause of the action, the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, and Travelers’ potential liability for the plaintiff’s claim.” The court found that the delay, if any, stemmed from the underlying criminal investigation and delays attributable to the plaintiff. The court also found that the plaintiff’s Rule 56(d) declaration was nothing more than a belated motion to compel discovery and that the plaintiff had not offered anything of substance in response to the dispositive motion. As a result, Travelers’ motion for summary judgment was granted in its entirety, and the case was dismiss.