In Porter v. Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insur. Co., 2014 OK 50, the trial court dismissed a case for bad faith and breach of contract along with a class certification claim. Porter claimed that Oklahoma Farm Bureau (OFB) was in bad faith for denying the claim in light of a previous court of appeals decision, Andres v. Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., 2009 OK CIV APP 97, which found the policy ambiguous and required coverage based on the reasonable expectations of the insureds. The Oklahoma Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Oklahoma Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the bad faith and fraud claims, and reversed the dismissal of the breach of contract claim -- and the certification issue. The class certification was dismissed as a consequence of the dismissal of the individual breach of contract claim.
Bad Faith. There was no bad faith in failing to follow a Court of Civil Appeals decision that did not constitute the law at the time of an insurer's resistance to payment. Skinner, 2000 OK 18, ¶ 19, 998 P.2d at 1223-24. A split in authority does not render the policy provisions ambiguous.
Breach of Contract. The court said that if the damage was caused by a sewer back up, it was excluded, but if it was caused from the plumbing system, there was coverage. The trial court erred in dismissing the breach of contract claim because the allegations stated a claim for breach of contract.
Class Certification. Because the district court's dismissal of the individual breach of contract claim was reversed, and because the trial court dismissed the class action claim because of the dismissal of the individual breach of contract claim, the district court must revisit the class-action breach of contract claim on remand.