Court Orders Insurance Company to Identify Why it Denied a Claim

Discovery disputes in litigation are usually the result of unresolved misunderstandings between the parties over the nature of the issues in dispute. Most often, discovery disputes are and should be resolved without court intervention.  Occasionally, there are bonafide discovery disputes that must be presented to the court for resolution.

SJJ recently won a Motion to Compel Discovery ordering an insurer to answer certain discovery questions about why it denied a claim. In a previous order, the court left open the issue of whether the insurer frustrated the insured’s ability to recover under a policy but the insurer refused to produce discovery on that issue. The two parts of the question were 1.) whether the insured complied with its policy obligations, and if not 2.) whether the insurer frustrated the insured’s ability to do so rendering performance impossible. Of course, an insured generally must comply with its obligations under an insurance policy in order to recover any insurance proceeds after a loss. If the insurer prevents the insured from doing so, then the insured may still be able to recover.

The insurance company, in an ongoing pattern of attempting to create procedural roadblocks to our client’s recovery, refused to answer the discovery.  We challenged each and every objection to the discovery requests, and in the Court’s 21-page Order granting put Motion to Compel Discovery, the court thoughtfully reviewed each of the insured’s discovery requests and made an individual ruling on each of them.

It rarely is easy to resolve a contested claim, but you cannot take no for an answer and must be willing to enforce the policyholder’s right under the policy.

Contact Smith Jadin Johnson if you have any dispute with your insurance company.

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