United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
E. FALLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment.
See Rec. Docs. 11 & 21. Plaintiff Ralph Sacks
(“Sacks”) asks this Court to grant summary
judgment on the issue of bad faith damages and to award
penalties and attorney's fees against Allstate. On the
other hand, Defendant Allstate Property and Casualty
Insurance Co. (“Allstate”) argues that there is
insufficient information to support a bad faith claim. Having
considered the parties' arguments, submissions and
applicable law, the Court now issues this Order and Reason.
case arises from injuries Sacks allegedly sustained as a
result of an automobile accident. Rec. Doc. 1-2 at 3.
Plaintiff initially filed this action in the 24th Judicial
Court for the Parish of Jefferson. Rec. Doc. 1 at 1.
Defendant timely removed and maintained this Court has
diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
alleges he had stopped his vehicle at a stop sign on
Lafayette Street at its intersection with 5th Street in
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, when he was struck from behind
by Claire Gregorie, who was found to be at fault for the
accident. Rec. Doc. 1-2 at 3-4. Plaintiff claims he sustained
three herniated cervical discs and underwent a cervical
epidural injection and shoulder surgery. Id. at 5.
State Farm Fire Insurance Company provided a policy of
liability to Ms. Gregorie at the time of the accident.
Id. at 4. On June 6, 2016, State Farm tendered its
policy limit of $15, 000.00 to Plaintiff. Id. at 5.
instant dispute arises from Plaintiff's
uninsured/underinsured motorist policy with Defendant
Allstate, which Plaintiff had at the time of the accident.
Id. On May 3, 2016, Plaintiff made a demand for an
unconditional tender of the policy. See id.; Rec.
Doc. 11-1 at 3. Plaintiff alleges he sent in the
necessary supporting medical records and bills with his
demand, and that this constituted satisfactory proof of loss
for Allstate to make an unconditional tender. Rec. Doc. 21-1
at 3. Allstate claims that Plaintiff's initial demand
package did not include the necessary declaration form
containing information about the tortfeasor's underlying
coverage. Rec. Doc. 11-1 at 3. Allstate avers that it
notified Plaintiff's counsel of the missing form on May
16, 2016. Id. Allstate did not receive the missing
information until August 1, 2016. Id. at 3-4.
reviewing the medical records, Allstate notified Plaintiff
that the medical record had missing information: it contained
no express opinions from Plaintiff's physicians linking
Plaintiff's medical treatment to the accident. Rec. Doc.
11-1 at 3-4. Therefore, on August 17, 2016, Allstate
requested further information from Plaintiff's physicians
in order to determine whether any of the alleged injuries
were due to preexisting or subsequent injuries. Rec. Doc.
11-1 at 4. Allstate alleges that because it was missing this
material information, a question of causation remained, and
therefore it did not initiate tender to Plaintiff.
October 11, 2016, Plaintiff initiated this instant lawsuit,
alleging that Allstate failed to make a tender. See
Rec. Doc. 1-2. Specifically, Plaintiff claims Allstate acted
in bad faith by (1) failing to make an unconditional tender
within 30 days of satisfactory proof of loss in accordance
with Louisiana Revised Statutes 22:1892 and 22:1973; (2)
failing to properly settle the claim in a timely manner after
receipt of satisfactory proof of loss in accordance with
Louisiana Revised Statutes 22:1892 and 22:1973; and (3)
failing to timely investigate the veracity of the claim.
Id. at 6.
the lawsuit was filed, Allstate conducted discovery and
resolved the medical causation issue. See Rec. Doc.
11-1 at 5. On May 30, 2017, it issued an unconditional tender
of $107, 188.00, based on Plaintiff's shoulder
arthroscopy and an epidural steroid injection. Id.
Shortly thereafter, Allstate initiated an additional
unconditional tender of $142, 812.00 based on Plaintiff's
neck surgery. Id. at 5-6. This exhausted
Plaintiff's policy limit. Id. at 6. The only
issue that remains now is whether Allstate acted in bad faith
by allegedly delaying its payments.
filed a motion for summary judgment dismissing
Plaintiff's suit, arguing that, as a matter of law, there
is not sufficient evidence to establish that Allstate acted
in an arbitrary and capricious manner in handling
Plaintiff's claim. See generally Rec. Doc. 11-1.
Specifically, Allstate asserts that it had reasonable and
legitimate questions about Plaintiff's insurance claim.
Id. at 1. Plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary
judgment, arguing that Allstate acted in an arbitrary and
capricious manner by failing to timely investigate his claim
and failing to make a timely unconditional tender. Rec. Doc.
21-1 at 1.