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Written by AMLO.

KY Court of appeals upholds $291,000 bad faith verdict

Buttery v. Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company

Kentucky Court of Appeals (2007)

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld another jury verdict obtained by MFTL in a bad faith case. The unanimous Opinion by the Kentucky Court of Appeals found the insurance company, Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company of Cincinnati, engaged in "outrageous behavior".

Court of Appeals upholds $291,000 bad faith verdict calling the insurance company`s conduct `outrageous`.

In the jury trial, MFTL represented Buttery, whose claim under his homeowner's policy was delayed for four (4) years.  Buttery's house had been vandalized during daylight hours, causing approximately $58,000 of loss.  Hamilton Mutual refused to pay, making him fill out a vast amount of paperwork, multiple sworn proof of loss statements, and undergoing multiple examinations under oath.  When the insurance claim was tried before a jury, they awarded Terry Buttery nearly $58,000.  Hamilton Mutual appealed and lost again.  They eventually paid, but only after Buttery's lawyers filed motions with the Court to compel payment.

Buttery then hired MFTL to handle the bad faith claim, alleging that Hamilton Mutual had breached its duty to act in good faith towards their policyholder by unreasonably delaying the action.  The second jury agreed.  In October 2005 they awarded punitive damages and compensatory damages, and a judgment was entered for attorney's fees and prejudgment interest, which totaled $291,000.  Hamilton Mutual again appealed.

The Court of Appeals has recently upheld the verdict, finding that all of the evidence was relevant.  Particularly, the Court of Appeals stated that Hamilton Mutual, by raising the "advice of counsel" defense in the bad faith case, opened the door for the introduction of all types of conduct that occurred during the underlying litigation.  The opinion is not yet final, although it is designated "To be published."