Infinity Insurance hit with 'bad faith' lawsuit

Jon Campisi Aug. 24, 2011, 6:20am

A Philadelphia man who alleges that his auto insurance provider has refused to pay out a claim involving his crashed vehicle, as well as refusing to send out an adjuster to assess the damages, has filed a bad faith lawsuit against the company.

Philadelphia attorney Patricia M. Hoban filed the civil suit Aug. 22 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Collington Garr.

The defendant named in the complaint is Birmingham, Ala.-based Infinity Insurance Company.

According to the civil action, Garr’s vehicle, which was covered under the insurance policy for collision, tow and rental, was involved in an automobile accident on Aug. 4 of this year near milepost 346 of Interstate 76 in Philadelphia.

Following the accident, which was reported to Infinity and assigned to a claim representative, Garr filed a claim for collision, rental vehicle and towing of his existing vehicle.

The vehicle, which was not drivable following the accident, was towed from the scene to Magic Auto Center, where it remains to this day, acquiring daily storage fees, the lawsuit claims.

On Aug. 12, Garr’s attorneys contacted Infinity representatives to let them know that “time was of the essence in settling this claim,” because the plaintiff needs his car to get to and from work, and because daily storage fees at the lot were accumulating. An Infinity representative assured attorneys that the vehicle would be removed from the lot and transferred to an Infinity lot, the suit states.

That was apparently never done, however, and on Aug. 18 an Infinity representative contacted Garr directly to inform him that the vehicle would not be moved from the Magic Auto Center lot.

“Plaintiff has sustained additional damages as a result of Infinity’s delay in the investigation, their failure to appraise the vehicle and their failure to tow the car to an Infinity storage lot pending any investigation,” the lawsuit states.

“Plaintiff has paid all premiums and otherwise satisfied all conditions and covenants and performed all things required of him under the insurance contract between Plaintiff and Defendant.”

The lawsuit contends that Infinity has failed to pay for legitimate claims for damages and that “Defendant specifically denied the insurance claim despite knowledge that Plaintiff’s automobile has never been returned ...”

The lawsuit states that under Pennsylvania law, insurance companies have a duty to refrain from making an “unfounded refusal” to pay policy proceeds.

The plaintiff has also incurred additional expenses related to having to obtain a rental car for the interim period while his vehicle is out of commission.

The lawsuit contains a count of “breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing” for failing to pay for the damages relating to the car accident, withholding payment from the plaintiff knowing that his claim for collision under the contract is valid, failing to pay for the rental vehicle and the towing and storing of the vehicle that was involved in the accident, failing to “reasonably and properly” investigate the claim for collision, and not attempting in good faith to effectuate a “prompt, fair and equitable payment to which Plaintiff is entitled.”

The lawsuit also contains counts of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of statutory duties, and violations of consumer protection laws.

For each of the counts in the suit, the plaintiff demands judgment against Infinity in the form of compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, the costs of the lawsuit and other relief.

Arbitration has not yet been scheduled in this non-jury matter.

The case number is 110803319.

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