Following an eight-day jury trial in Denver District Court, Levin Sitcoff Waneka partner Jeremy Sitcoff and his co-counsel, Dan Caplis, have won more than $3 million in a case against Cincinnati Casualty Company (“Cincinnati”) asserting claims for breach of contract, bad faith breach of insurance contract, and violation of C.R.S. §§ 10-3-1115 and -1116.
The total verdict still being calculated and to be set by the court will include an award of attorney’s fees and costs on behalf of the plaintiff due to the finding of statutory bad faith.
The case began October 25, 2013 when the plaintiff, Alex Headley, was driving northbound on Interstate 25 north of Castle Rock. Testimony at trial revealed Kelsey Meyer, who was also driving northbound on Interstate 25, fell asleep while driving at highway speeds.
Ms. Meyer’s vehicle collided with another vehicle, which then collided with Mr. Headley’s vehicle. Mr. Headley suffered multiple significant and permanent injuries in the crash as well as a significant loss of income. He ultimately underwent artificial disc replacement surgery, lumbar fusion surgery, and a subsequent surgery on his lumbar to remove the hardware. At the time of the crash, Mr. Headley was insured under a commercial automobile insurance policy issued to his employer, Patriot Enterprises, by Cincinnati. The Cincinnati policy provided underinsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits in the amount of $1 million per occurrence. Ms. Meyer was insured under an automobile liability policy issued by Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”) that provided bodily injury coverage with limits of $250,000 per person/per accident, in addition to a personal umbrella policy issued by Allstate that provided $1 million in bodily injury coverage.
Mr. Headley made a bodily injury claim with Allstate and was also communicating with Cincinnati regarding his injuries, damages and losses. Mr. Headley ultimately brought suit against Ms. Meyer while continuing to provide information to Cincinnati regarding his UIM claim. Cincinnati was provided with all of Mr. Headley’s medical records as part of its investigation of Mr. Headley’s UIM claim. After settling his claim against Ms. Meyer, Mr. Headley submitted to an independent medical examination as requested by Cincinnati. After the UIM carrier received the IME report, Cincinnati advised Mr. Headley that he had been fully compensated by the Allstate settlement and that he was not entitled to any UIM benefits.