Washington Case Law Update: Washington Court of Appeals Allows Bad Faith and CPA Claim Against Adjuster

Attorney Profile Case Update Template - Josh

From the Desk of Joshua P. HaywardWhen insurance adjusters allegedly act in bad faith or engage in unfair or deceptive acts, the insurance company can be exposed to bad faith claims or Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”) violation claims.  Can the individual insurance adjuster also be liable for bad faith or CPA claims?  Read on to find out.

Claims Pointer: In this case arising out of a motorcycle vs. vehicle accident, the Washington Court of Appeals was asked to determine whether the insured could maintain a bad faith claim and CPA claim against the individual adjuster.  The court determined that insurance adjusters may be liable for bad faith and CPA violations.  The court’s holding is a drastic departure from previous Washington court decisions, and going forward, adjusters should be aware that their conduct and actions may expose them to individual liability.

Keodalah v. Allstate Insurance Co., 75731-8-I, Washington Court of Appeals Div. I (March 26, 2018).

As a preliminary matter, appellate courts review a trial court’s dismissal in this type of proceedings by assuming that the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s complaint are true and accurate.  This means that the facts presented by the court in this ruling and set forth below are likely to be disputed by the defendants.  At this point, the following is only an allegation made by the plaintiff, and no factual determination has been made.

This cases arises out of a motor vehicle accident involving Moun Keodalah (“the insured”) and an uninsured motorcyclist.  The insured was crossing an intersection when he was struck by the motorcyclist.  The motorcyclist was killed in the collision, and the insured suffered injuries.  The Seattle Police Department’s (“SDP”) investigation found that “the motorcyclist was traveling between 70 and 74 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone.”  SDP also determined that the insured was not on his cell phone.  An accident reconstruction firm hired by...

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