Sims v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
ORDER denying 111 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge J. Leon Holmes on 1/8/2016. (ks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
NO. 4:13CV00371 JLH
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE
Alexandra Sims has filed a motion asking for reconsideration of the Court’s order granting
State Farm’s motion for partial summary judgment on her first-party bad faith claim. The Court
granted that motion because Sims had not presented evidence that State Farm committed any
affirmative act of dishonesty, oppression, or malice. Document #92 at 6. The conclusion that Sims
had not presented evidence that State Farm committed an affirmative act of dishonesty, oppression,
or malice was reached after a review of the events upon which Sims relied as constituting
affirmative acts of dishonesty, oppression, or malice and the relevant Arkansas case law. The Court
did not specifically mention the testimony and report by Justin Minton, who was engaged by Sims
as an expert. Minton is a lawyer who previously worked as a claims adjustor. Because the Court
did not specifically mention Minton’s report, Sims suggests that his report was overlooked. It was
not. In his report, Minton recounts events in the claims handling process in this case, characterizes
actions by State Farm’s claims adjustors as objectively unreasonable, falling short of industry
standards for good faith handling practices, or the like, and then concludes that these actions
constituted deceptive, dishonest, and oppressive conduct. Minton’s conclusions on these issues are
not evidence, and the fact that he opines that State Farm committed affirmative acts that were
deceptive, dishonest, or oppressive does not make it so. The facts are the facts, and Minton’s
opinions do not change them. No evidence has been presented to show that State Farm committed
an affirmative act of dishonesty, oppression, or malice. State Farm may not have handled Sims’s
claim properly; it may not have complied with industry standards; and it may not have followed its
own protocol in every respect. Mishandling a claim, failing to comply with industry standards,
failing to follow the insurer’s own protocol, and the like are not enough to establish bad faith in
Arkansas, even if a report from a former claims adjustor characterizes those failures as dishonest or
oppressive. Again, to establish bad faith in Arkansas, a plaintiff must present evidence that the
insurer committed an affirmative act of dishonesty, oppression, or malice. And, again, Sims has
presented no such evidence.
The motion for reconsideration is DENIED. Document #111.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 8th day of January, 2016.
J. LEON HOLMES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?