Mamudi v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.
Allegations that a defendant insurance company intended to delay, to reduce its payment to an insured, and acted willfully and knowingly, can be sufficient to state a cause of action for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. On July 25, 2011, the plaintiff, Argetim Mamudi, allegedly was injured in a motor-vehicle accident. The plaintiff sued the defendant insurance company, State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., alleging it intended to delay, to reduce the payment to the plaintiff, and acted "purposefully, willfully, maliciously" and "knowingly" when it made a representation to the plaintiff. The plaintiff's October 2012 complaint alleged breach of the insurance contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. State Farm moved to strike the count alleging breach of the duty of good faith and argued that the plaintiff failed to allege sinister motive or improper purpose. "[W]hen the insurer unreasonably and in bad faith withholds payment of the claim of its insured, it is subject to liability in tort," pursuant to L.F. Pace & Sons Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., a 1986 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. "Neglect or refusal to fulfill a contractual obligation can be bad faith only if prompted by an interested or sinister motive," pursuant to Feinberg v. Berglewicz, a 1993 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. Here, construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, wrote the court, "the plaintiff's complaint adequately "alleges a sinister or interested motive." The court denied State Farm's motion to strike the plaintiff's count alleging breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. The court granted State Farm's motion to strike the plaintiff's CUTPA count.