Joel J. Feller settles record $18 Million Insurance Bad Faith case

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Joel J. Feller, a founding partner of Ross Feller Casey, LLP, has reached an $18 million settlement with Erie Insurance Exchange in a bad-faith action on behalf of the family of a 15-year-old boy who sustained severe brain injuries in a car accident.

It is believed to be the largest such “bad faith” settlement with an insurance company involving an underlying $100,000 policy in Pennsylvania history.

Feller alleged that, among other things, that Erie Insurance Exchange failed to timely pay the $100,000 policy and relied on an inexperienced employee in delaying action on the coverage.

The case involved Stephen Piper, who was a passenger in a car driven by his brother, Kyle, when it crashed on Feb. 22, 2003. Stephen, who spent weeks in a coma, sued his brother in Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas.

The Legal Intelligencer newspaper ran a front-page article on the settlement (read story here).
Feller told the paper that “any reasonable insurance professional would conclude that the value of Stephen’s injuries far exceeded the $100,000 policy.

“Yet Erie refused to timely offer its $100,000 policy to protect its insured, Kyle, and when they finally made an offer it was conditioned on the waiver of another portion of the policy.”

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