Sunday, November 28, 2010

Order Allowing Discovery Of Claim File Prior To Determination On Liability Quashed

In State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Tranchese (4D10-2940), the Fourth District granted a petition for certiorari and quashed a trial court's order relating to a bad faith claim prior to the adjudication of the underlying claim.  The court stated:
We grant the petition as to the abatement, because the final determination of coverage and damages for the underlying claim has not been made, which must precede a statutory bad faith action...Where causes of action for both the underlying damages and bad faith are brought in the same action, the appropriate step is to abate the bad faith action until coverage and damages have been determined.
With regard to the discovery the trial court allowed, the Fourth District stated:
As to the requests for admissions regarding business practices and claims policy procedures, we grant the petition, holding that until the obligation to provide coverage and damages has been determined, a party is not entitled to discovery related to the claims filed or to the insurer’s business policies or practices regarding handling of claims.  


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