In Tran v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co, (unpublished) Ms. Tran was injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist. She filed a claim with Nationwide. After Nationwide made several requests for medical bills, Ms. Tran’s attorney submitted them with a demand for payment of policy limits. The bills totaled approximately $11,000. There followed several rounds of offers between Nationwide and Tran’s attorney. At some point, the lawyer demanded payment of the undisputed amount of the damages, but Nationwide declined. Eventually, Tran sued Nationwide for breach of contract and bad faith. The parties filed summary judgment motion on the issues of bad faith and breach of contract. The trial court granted Nationwide’s motion and denied Tran’s motion and Tran appealed. The 10th Circuit affirmed.
Tran claimed that Nationwide was in bad faith for not tendering the undisputed amount of the claim until after suit was filed, and was in breach of contract for not paying her the non-economic (pain and suffering) damages to which she was entitled. Tran relied on the Quine case which was previously summarized here. There was no bad faith because there was a legitimate dispute as to the value of Ms. Tran’s claim. There was no breach of contract because there was no evidence of Ms. Tran’s non-economic damages presented to the trial court.