Insurance company denies couple’s allegations

PACIFIC Indemnity Insurance, which is based in Guam, has denied the allegations made by a couple who said the company did not defend them in a wrongful death lawsuit over a fatal car accident in 2013.

Dong-Youl Lim and Moon Hee Ko have sued Pacific Indemnity for breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation of the Consumer Protection Act, and fraud and intentional misrepresentation

But Pacific Indemnity attorney Robert T. Torres said the complaint failed to state a claim upon which a relief can be granted.

Torres said Pacific Indemnity admits that a notice of accident was given to its general agent in CNMI, Associated Insurance Underwriters of the Pacific, by letter served by the couple’s counsel, Joshua Berger.

Torres said Pacific Indemnity admitted to sending a letter to attorney Steve Nutting, who represented the mother of the deceased, and provided Nutting a third-party claim form.

Torres said Pacific Indemnity confirmed there were negotiations between Nutting, who represented the deceased’s mother in her wrongful death claim and was the representative of her son’s estate; Berger on behalf of the insured; and Pacific Indemnity.

Torres said those negotiations resulted in a settlement of $15,000 of the claims raised by Nutting’s client against Pacific Indemnity which was policy limits under the policy issued to the plaintiffs.

The insurance company also admitted to receiving a copy of wrongful death claim against the plaintiffs through attorney Nutting who filed the lawsuit. But Pacific Indemnity denies any other allegations.

It asserts that it paid policy limits in the settlement.

Pacific Indemnity also asserts an affirmative defense of full payment under the policy, and that pursuant to the terms, its obligation to defend and indemnify the plaintiffs ended upon the payment of policy limits.

Torres said the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the doctrine of estoppels (legal and equitable), adding that Pacific Indemnity has complied with all terms and conditions in the insurance policy issued to the plaintiffs.

Torres said Pacific Indemnity at all times acted with good faith and treated plaintiffs fairly.

He asked the court to dismiss the complaint.

Pacific Indemnity earlier moved the lawsuit, which was originally filed in Superior Court, to the District Court for the NMI.

The plaintiffs, who are represented by Charles P. Reyes Jr. and William Satterberg, have asked the court to hold the insurance company liable to pay them damages, court costs and attorney’s fees.

The plaintiffs said because of Pacific Indemnity’s failure to settle the claim for wrongful death of a third party, and to defend them with respect to the wrongful death, they were forced to settle the wrongful death claim by the personal representative of the deceased third party, by entering into a stipulated judgment against them in the amount of $300,000 in exchange for a covenant not to sue.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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