STRATEGY FOR NEGOTIATIONS The environment for seeking redress for insurance company wrongs is not always “plaintiff friendly.” While juries may be sympathetic, the barriers posed by evidentiary rules, punitive “caps,” and the views of judges and appellate courts to class actions or large punitive “windfalls” must be evaluated before committing your law firm to these suits. They require careful planning and consideration before filing.
Tort reform and the courts’ approaches to punitive damages claims have made some carriers feel more secure that bad faith and punitive damages are not a threat as they were in the 1970’s and 1980’s when insurance bad faith cases matured.
Now, there are still cases where punitive damages are warranted, but the commitment of time, money and the client’s emotional and physical resources is large. For example, Ray Bourhis, a well known insurance bad faith lawyer in San Francisco, has written a telling story of one of his more recent insurance bad faith cases. Anyone doing insurance bad faith work is well advised to read this book.