PWRFL obtains $17.5 million judgment in bad faith case against Mutual of Enumclaw insurance company.

On behalf of the plaintiff, PWRFL attorneys Felix Luna, Mike Wampold and Tomás Gahan, sued Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Company (MOE) for acting in bad faith against its own policyholder.

Following nearly three weeks of trial, a King County jury returned a verdict in favor of PWRFL’s client for $11.5 million.  Three months later, the trial judge added another $6 million to the jury’s verdict in penalties, attorney fees, and litigation costs, for a total judgment of $17.5 million against MOE and in favor of PWRFL’s client.

When an MOE policyholder accidentally struck and killed a young wife and mother in 2010 on a Nevada highway, MOE failed to take reasonable steps to resolve the claim within his policy limits even though MOE had multiple opportunities to do so. Because of MOE’s bad faith conduct toward its insured, MOE’s policyholder was left unprotected and was eventually sued by the widower of the woman killed, resulting in a judgment in excess of $11 million against MOE’s policyholder.  Faced with such a ruinous judgment, the policyholder assigned his bad faith claim against MOE to the widower in exchange for a covenant not to execute the judgment against him, permitting the widower to stand in the shoes of the policyholder and sue MOE as the plaintiff. 

Representing the plaintiff, PWRFL filed suit against MOE for the underlying judgment, plus additional penalties and fees for five separate claims: (1) bad faith, (2) negligence, (3) violations of the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, (4) violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, and (5) breach of the insurance contract.  MOE defended the case aggressively, refusing to provide basic discovery, moving to dismiss plaintiff’s claims via a separate federal court lawsuit and twice in King County Superior Court.  PWRFL won every motion against MOE, finally permitting plaintiff to have his day in court eight years after his wife was killed.  

In the late spring of 2018, a jury returned a unanimous jury against MOE on all five of plaintiff’s claims, and a few months later the trial judge added penalties, fees and costs.  After additional briefing, MOE abandoned an appeal and paid the entirety of the $17.5 million judgment. 

A link to the jury’s verdict can be found here and a link to the Court’s final judgment can be found here.