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Written by AMLO.

Insurance bad faith in Pike County

Geise v. Home Insurance

Pike County, KY (1998)

Client wins insurance bad faith trial against Home Insurance Company that rendered a verdict of $1,070,000.00.

The case started out as a legal malpractice case. Giese had hired a local Pikeville lawyer to close a loan. However, the security documents (what is called a UCC-1) which granted Giese a lien on some collateral, never got filed in the Pike County Clerk's Office. Later, the borrower filed bankruptcy and Giese lost approximately $65,000.00. He blamed his lawyer for not filing the papers and hired Mr. Mehr to bring a legal malpractice suit against his previous lawyer. The lawyer had a malpractice policy with Home Insurance Company, who was asked to pay Giese his $65,000 loss.

However, Home Insurance Company refused to even discuss the settlement of what appeared to be a clear liability situation. They delayed and stonewalled Mr. Giese for approximately five years, making, for the first time, a real attempt to settle the case a few days before it went to trial. The legal malpractice case was settled for approximately $85,000.00.

Because Home Insurance Company had waited five years to fairly negotiate this insurance claim, Giese then sued Home Insurance Company for bad faith. Mehr Fairbanks Trial Lawyers again represented Giese.

The matter was tried before a Pike Circuit jury with a verdict totaling nearly 1.8 million dollars. Included in this amount, the jury awarded 1.6 million dollars in punitive damages. Shortly after the trial, Giese collected a large portion of the judgment pursuant to a previously executed "high-low" agreement.