Most of our cases are under strict confidentiality settlement agreements; however, appellate cases are public record. Below is a sample of appellate cases that Mark and Wayne Arnett have handled that have shaped the law of bad faith in Arizona.
Judicial review of decision of the Director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to deny woman insurance coverage for further breast-reconstruction procedure.
Innocent co-insured is not bar from recovery under fire policy even if another insured committed fraud or arson. There is a factual issue remaining for the trail court to determine whether the insured in this case was innocent. Further, one-year limitations provision in the insurance policy was unenforceable since the insurer failed to show prejudice from the insureds' delay in filing suit.
Under the insured’s ERISA disability plan the insured was not entitled to disability benefits for his partial disability under the terms of his insurance policy after he began a second job.
Annuitant who was promised a back-up annuity was entitled to immediate expectation damages as measured by cost of replacement annuity policy and could bring a tort action against insurer for bad faith, but not common law or statutory consumer fraud. Insurer's failure to procure back-up annuity as promised did not constitute unfair or deceptive act or practice in business of insurance.
Plaintiff was allowed to his maintain claim for insurer’s failure to timely process his application for disability insurance even though he had not yet been asked to pay a premium. Whether applicant gave consideration was question of fact precluding summary judgment on the breach of contract claim. The Arizona Supreme court overruled the Arizona Court of Appeals opinion found at Hill v. Chubb Life American Ins. Co., 178 Ariz. 37, 870 P.2d 1133 (Ct. App.1993), that had ruled the opposite.
An insured who was insured under two health insurance policies was found to be a third-party beneficiary of participation agreement between the hospital and insurer. Consequently, the hospital had to pay Plaintiff the money collected from the insurance company because it had already been paid the agreed rate from the other insurance company.
When an insurer accepts premium for immediate coverage, a contract for interim insurance is created despite a “conditional receipt” giving the health insurer power to defeat such coverage by not issuing policy of insurance. Additionally, failure to submit a claim does not preclude recovery where insurer indicates that no coverage existed.
A.R.S. §23-930 which provides that the Industrial Commission has exclusive jurisdiction as prescribed in "this section" over complaints involving alleged unfair claim processing practices or bad faith by workers' compensation carriers does not prevent common-law actions for bad faith against compensation carriers. This case overruled, Hays v. Continental Ins. Co., 172 Ariz. 573, 838 P.2d 1334 (Ct. App. 1992), which held the opposite.
An insurer owes no duty of good faith to insured's widow who was not an insured under the policy.
USAA’s insurance policy did not authorize insurer to reduce coverage for depreciation. However, USAA was entitled to a new trial on bad faith because a jury instruction erroneously implied that violation of a Department of Insurance regulations (promulgated under authority of the Arizona Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act) gave the insured the express right to recover damages for USAA’s violation of that regulation.
Opinions expressed in an insurance applications cannot be used to rescind the policy. Whether questions on the insurance applications concerning any mental disorder or ill health solicited factual responses or opinions is a question of fact and summary judgment was inappropriate.
Summary judgment on the bad faith claim was inappropriate because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the insurer's denial of the claim was reasonable. Summary judgment was also inappropriate on Plaintiff’s claim for under the Insurance Practices Act. The court also held that there is no private right of action under the Fraudulent Advertising Practices Act. (However, the Arizona Supreme Court later stated that “Any statements made by the court of appeals in Ward adopting the federal standard for determining legislative intent in creating or denying a private right of action arising from a statute providing civil penalties for violation of the statute are overruled.” Transamerica Financial Corp. v. Superior Court In and For Maricopa County, 158 Ariz. 115, 117, 761 P.2d 1019, 1021 (1988)).
Arizona Supreme Court held that an insurance policy that excluded damage done by insects, covered damage done after bees were exterminated by the leakage of honey from their hive because the policy covered any "ensuing loss" from insects. The court overruled Roberts v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 146 Ariz. 301, 705 P.2d 1352 (Ct. App. 1985), which had held that the policy did not provide coverage.
Evidence supported submission of the bad faith case to jury on theory of reckless disregard of absence of reasonable basis for denying claim. Claims administrator was engaged in joint venture so that it was jointly and severally liable with insurer. Damages for emotional distress were recoverable even though the insurer did not intentionally cause distress and even though distress was not severe. Although actual damages for a loss of or injury to credit are recoverable, in this case insureds presented insufficient evidence. Insureds were not entitled to punitive damages because “something more” than the reckless disregard that is needed to support the bad faith claim is necessary for punitive damages.
Insureds in bad faith cases are entitled to a copy of the claims file to show insurers conduct.
Language of the insurance company's conditional receipt given to the insured when company received partial payment of the premium for group health coverage did not preclude the existence of temporary coverage. Summary judgment by the trail court on breach of contract and bad faith was reversed.
Compensatory damages in a suit by tenant and against the landlord can include recovery for mental suffering, anguish, discomfort or annoyance caused by the landlord’s failure to maintain the leased property as required by the Landlord Tenant Act (A.R.S. § 33-1301 et seq.) Mark Arnett was one of the attorneys that handled the appeal for the landlord.
In dispute over a contract to sell a business, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trail courts finding for the buyers on breach of contract claim, awarded seller damages on breach of contract, default, and open account indebtedness claims, and awarded seller attorney's fees after finding that fraud claim was groundless.
Wife could not be subjected to liability by her addition as a party defendant after case had been decided on appeal where no attempt was ever made to serve wife and wife's liability was not adjudicated by trial court.
Class action lawsuit over a right-of-way on Indian reservation. This case was again taken to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Loring v. City of Scottsdale, Ariz., 721 F.2d 274 (9th Cir 1983), regarding attorneys fees.
Suit by purchasers of houses sued real estate developer for fraud.
Franchisor sued franchisee for breach of a written lease agreement.
Defendant charged with disorderly conduct is not entitled to a trial by jury.
Worker’s compensation case.