July 31, 2009

Superior Dispatch, Inc. v. Insurance Corp of New York: Trial Court Erred in Striking Punitive Damages Claim in Insurance Bad Faith Case

The California Court of Appeal (Second District, Division 3) issued this published opinion yesterday, reversing a trial court's grant of summary judgment to an insurer in an insurance bad faith suit.

Among other things, the opinion states that the trial court erred in striking the plaintiff's punitive damages claim because the facts alleged in the complaint would be sufficient to support a finding of "oppression," one of the predicates to awarding punitive damages under Civil Code 3294.

The punitive damages portion of the opinion is not particularly noteworthy. We mention it only in connection with our ongoing efforts to develop a complete picture of all the punitive damages decisions coming out of the California Court of Appeal.