Toy v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company
ORDER denying 174 Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Preclude Defendant from Contesting Plaintiff's Damages as Determined at Arbitration (Motion in Limine No. 3). By Judge Philip A. Brimmer on 2/6/14.(pabsec)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Civil Action No. 12-cv-01683-PAB-MJW
AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY,
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine to Preclude
Defendant from Contesting Plaintiff’s Damages as Determined at Arbitration (Motion in
Limine No. 3) [Docket No. 174] filed by plaintiff Gregory Toy.
After failing to reach an agreement as to the amount of plaintiff’s actual
damages, plaintiff demanded arbitration to determine actual damages on August 15,
2011. Docket No. 86-3. On April 12, 2012, the arbiter determined the damages to be
$2,067,005.30, which consisted of $275,000 in noneconomic damages, $964,557 in
economic damages, and $300,000 in physical impairment damages, plus interest and
costs. Docket No. 86 at 4, ¶ 10; Docket No. 86-5. The parties agreed to reduce the
award to $1,000,000, the UIM policy limit, and, on April 19, 2012, defendant paid Mr.
Toy $1,000,000 plus costs and interest. Docket No. 113-8 at 2. Defendant did not
appeal or request any setoff from the arbitration award. Docket No. 86 at 4, ¶ 12.
Plaintiff now seeks to preclude defendant from contesting the amount of
damages awarded by the arbiter. Docket No. 174. Plaintiff argues that permitting
defendant to offer evidence or argument contesting the amount of damages would
confuse the jury and unnecessarily lengthen the trial. Id. (citing Fed. R. Evid. 403). As
the Court noted in its Order denying plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment:
“It is the insured’s burden to establish the insurer’s knowledge or reckless
disregard of the fact that a valid claim has been submitted.” Pham v. State
Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 70 P.3d 567, 572-73 (Colo. App. 2003) (“the issue
before us is whether defendants had a reasonable belief that they were not
obligated to pay UIM benefits” during the time that litigation against the
tortfeasor was pending); see also Farmers Grp., Inc. v. Trimble, 691 P.2d
1138, 1142 (Colo. 1984) (“would a reasonable insurer under the
circumstances have denied or delayed payment of the claim under facts and
circumstances” (internal quotation marks omitted)). Thus, an arbiter’s
calculation of damages, based on facts available in April 2012, does not
necessarily reflect the unreasonableness of defendant’s conduct, based on
the facts available to defendant in May and June 2011.
Docket No. 217 at 8-9. Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the information before
the arbiter was substantially the same as the information before the defendant during
the claims handling process. Absent such a showing, the Court finds that the probative
value of the arbiter’s calculation of damages as to plaintiff’s bad faith and statutory
claims is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and misleading the
jury. See Fed. R. Evid. 403.
Moreover, contrary to plaintiff’s argument, the arbiter’s calculation of actual
damages is not relevant to the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, which states that
“[c]ompelling insureds to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance
policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions
brought by such insureds” is considered an unfair claim settlement practice. Colo. Rev.
Stat. § 10-3-1104(1)(h)(VII) (emphasis added). Plaintiff did not ultimately recover the
full amount of the arbitration award. The parties agreed to reduce the arbiter’s award to
the policy limit of $1,000,000; thus, the amount of damages Mr. Toy ultimately
recovered was $1,000,000. As the Court noted at the February 3, 2014 hearing, the
jury can hear that, through arbitration, defendant agreed to pay plaintiff the policy limit
For the forgoing reasons, it is
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine to Preclude Defendant from
Contesting Plaintiff’s Damages as Determined at Arbitration (Motion in Limine No. 3)
[Docket No. 174] is DENIED.
DATED February 6, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/Philip A. Brimmer
PHILIP A. BRIMMER
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?