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Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County
September 12, 1995, Decided ; September 12, 1995, FILED
DOCKET NO. ATL-L-157-92
[*335] [**268] WINKELSTEIN, J.S.C.
This matter comes before the court on a motion by defendant Hertz Claim Management Corporation (HCM) for summary judgment. The primary issue to be addressed, not heretofore decided in this jurisdiction, is whether HCM as the servicing carrier for the New Jersey Full Insurance Underwriting Association (the Association), is immunized pursuant to N.J.S.A. 17:30E-7b, & e, from claims of bad faith by its insured.
Plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was rear ended on June 16, 1990. She sustained disc injuries which required anterior [*336] fusion and a discectomy at C5-6 and C-6-7 on April 24, 1991. The negligent driver's insurance company offered its policy limits of $ 15,000 in settlement of the claim. On June 6, 1991, plaintiff requested permission from HCM, the servicing carrier for the Association [***2] as plaintiff's underinsured motorist (UIM) carrier, to settle the claim with the negligent driver for the $ 15,000 policy limits. See Longworth v. Van Houten, 223 N.J. Super. 174, 538 A.2d 414 (App.Div.1988); Rutgers Cas. Ins. Co. v Vassas, 139 N.J. 163, 652 A.2d 162 (1995). Plaintiff's UIM policy [**269] limits were $ 50,000. Defendant failed to respond to plaintiff's request.
On January 3, 1992, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant demanding, inter alia, that she be permitted to accept payment of the $ 15,000 policy. After defendant was served, it consented to settle the third party claim for $ 15,000 but only under the condition that it receive a dismissal as to all counts in the complaint, which included claims for counsel fees, costs and punitive damages based on HCM's alleged acts of bad faith. On September 21, 1992 plaintiff wrote defendant naming an arbitrator and requested that defendant choose an arbitrator so the matter could be resolved through arbitration. Defendant failed to respond to plaintiff's request.
Thereafter, plaintiff's complaint was dismissed by the court for lack of prosecution. On motion to reinstate, the motion judge, by order of [***3] December 4, 1992, reinstated the complaint and required defendant to file an answer. No answer was filed and default was entered. Subsequent thereto, at the request of counsel for HCM, plaintiff's counsel agreed to vacate the default. Medical records of plaintiff's injuries were then supplied to defendant's counsel. An effort to obtain the difference between the $ 15,000 received on behalf of the third-party tortfeasor and the $ 50,000 UIM policy limits was made but no agreement was reached.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
288 N.J. Super. 331 *; 672 A.2d 266 **; 1995 N.J. Super. LEXIS 603 ***
ILVIA MIGLICIO, PLAINTIFFS, v. HCM CLAIM MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, NEW JERSEY AUTOMOBILE FULL INSURANCE UNDERWRITERS ASSOCIATION, (JUA), DEFENDANTS.
Subsequent History: [***1] Approved for Publication January 30, 1996.
carrier, insurer, bad faith, settlement, arbitration, damages, third-party, policy limit, good faith, coverage, delaying, insurance policy, summary judgment, immunized, insurance company, punitive damages, policies, obligations, practices, unfair, costs
Civil Procedure, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, General Overview, Summary Judgment, Burdens of Proof, Opposing Materials, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Materiality of Facts, Supporting Materials, Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Good Faith & Fair Dealing, Governments, Fiduciaries, Insurance Law, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Fiduciary Responsibilities, Liability & Performance Standards, Good Faith & Fair Dealing, Agents & Brokers, Torts, Procedural Matters, Settlements, Business & Corporate Compliance, Industry Practices, Unfair Business Practices, Claims Investigations & Practices, Motor Vehicle Insurance, Obligations, Settlements, Damages, Types of Damages, Consequential Damages, Measurement of Damages, Foreseeable Damages, No Fault Coverage, Personal Injury Protection, Notice to Insurers, Notice Requirements, Bad Faith & Extracontractual Liability, Insurance Company Operations, Coverage, Underinsured Motorists, Cancellation & Renewal, Types of Insurance, Company Representatives, Agents, Evidence, Relevance, Preservation of Relevant Evidence, Spoliation