BAD FAITH LITIGATION
In some regions of West Virginia, the specter of extra-contractual litigation arises frequently First party bad faith claims remain viable under West Virginia law for technical and substantive violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act, W. Va. Code 33-11-4(9). Not satisfied with traditional ‘bad faith’ theories which address the conduct of the insurance company, several cases are now pending before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to expand that liability and make insurers vicariously liable for the conduct of defense counsel for the insured. FWL is defending St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company in one of these cases. Opinions in these cases are expected in the first quarter of 2004.
West Virginia’s first party ‘bad faith’ law is both statutory and common law. The covenant of good faith and fair dealing is the vehicle employed by plaintiff’s counsel to expand the scope of extra-contractual liability in a first party context. West Virginia also has a substantial body of law regarding insurance company liability for excess verdicts.
FWL and its lawyers have successfully defended and resolved extra-contractual cases for a significant number of years and will accept future representations throughout the state of West Virginia and in proximate regions of Kentucky and Ohio as requested.