Minnesota’s “Good Faith” law does not preclude summary judgment against insured; insured not entitled to trial despite being allowed to amend complaint to include statutory bad faith claim.

Davis v. Grinnell Mutual Insurance Co., No. 09-CV-02563 (D. Minn., Dec. 30, 2010)

Type of Case: Insurance Breach of Contract/Bad-Faith Allegation

Lawyer(s): Leatha G. Wolter Katherine A. McBride Tamara L. Rollins

Office(s): Minneapolis

Date: Dec 30 2010

The insured brought this action alleging that Grinnell failed to properly pay his damage claim and then, as required by the statute, sought to amend the complaint to add a claim pursuant to Minnesota’s relatively new bad faith statute, Minn. Stat. 604.18. The motion to amend was made pursuant to the insured’s affidavit alleging that a Grinnell adjuster told him that if he insisted on having his deck replaced, Grinnell would not replace his wood roofs. Grinnell denied this allegation, but the court allowed the amendment. After discovery, Grinnell brought a motion for partial summary judgment on the statutory claim only, alleging that the insured’s deposition testimony did not support a bad-faith claim. The insured argued that the court’s right to grant summary judgment is restricted by the statute’s procedures setting out when a court may award taxable costs for bad faith. The court rejected that argument, adopting Meagher & Geer’s position that the statute does not control when a court may dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 56. The court granted Grinnell summary judgment on the statutory claim, determining that the insured’s later-occurring deposition testimony contradicted his earlier affidavit and that there was, thus, nothing in the record that suggested that Grinnell’s refusal to replace the insured’s roofs lacked a reasonable basis.

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