Bad faith lawsuits challenge the propriety of claim denial and the integrity of the claim-denial process. Discovery of the right information and documents usually means the difference between winning and losing the case. Plaintiff's counsel must identify objectively unreasonable, reckless, and malicious conduct, evidence of which is generally deep inside ostensibly "confidential" or "privileged" files.
Defense counsel must limit the scope of the plaintiff's discovery and effectively manage document production to keep the focus on whether there was a reasonable basis for the denial of a plaintiff's claims. Defense counsel must also consider discovery that calls into question whether the plaintiff’s conduct was objectively reasonable and / or whether the plaintiff was trying to set-up the insurer for a bad faith claim.
Expert witnesses may be a viable option for a plaintiff to prove bad faith claims, and defense counsel must be prepared to challenge the plaintiff's witness testimony. Both sides must prepare to address discoverability of information needed to support or defend punitive damages claims.
Bad faith claims may include battles over whether the work-product doctrine protects certain materials. Unique attorney-client privilege issues also arise, such as the joint client exception to the privilege and any implied waivers of the privilege during claim investigation.
Listen as our panel of authoritative practitioners provides its perspectives on the evolving state of the law and effective strategies for obtaining or defending discovery in bad faith insurance claims.