GEICO v. Whiteside: Navigating Complex Post-Loss Duties in Bad Faith Refusal to Settle Cases

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will review the holding and real world consequences of GEICO Indem. Co. v. Whiteside (Ga. Apr. 19, 2021), a negligent/bad faith failure to settle case that insurance counsel in all jurisdictions have watched closely and described as "extremely problematic." The panel will unravel the court's allegedly suspect reasoning, address issues related to establishing proximate cause, and offer best strategies for avoiding the results in the case.

Description

Whiteside examined complex post-loss, tort, and contract duties between the insured and insurer that vex insurance practitioners.

Many state statutes and virtually all insurance policies require the insured to notify its insurer of any lawsuits and provide that if notice is not given, there is no coverage for the resulting verdict. Yet, in Whiteside, the Court excused the failure of the insured to give notice based on several factors including that the insured was not a named insured and did not have a copy of the policy, the insured was not sophisticated, GEICO knew about the claim and had turned down a demand to settle from the victim’s attorney, and the case involved a suit by a bankruptcy trustee on behalf of the estate.

Some have alleged that the case bars an insurer from denying coverage after it has failed to accept a policy limits demand and increases the burden on insurers to determine whether suit has been filed. Others contend the case is limited to the unique facts before it. The logic of the case may suggest new theories to plaintiff's attorneys.

Listen as this experienced panel guides counsel through the interrelated and overlapping duties arising from statutes, contracts, and common law when tort and contract theories overlap.

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Outline

  1. Background of the case
  2. The certified questions
  3. Relationship between loss of coverage and tort liability

Benefits

The panel will review these and other important issues:

  • Does Whiteside effectively bar an insurer from denying coverage after it has failed to accept a policy limits demand?
  • Are insurers required to evaluate the reliability of an insured, and if so, how?
  • How did the issue of foreseeability take center stage in what appeared to be a simple case of breach of contract?
  • How can an insurer "foresee" the insured's unreliability?
  • How does additional insured status affect the duty to give notice?
  • Is a technical "lack of notice" defense valid when the insurer knows about the lawsuit from the tortfeasor?

Faculty

Cavallo, Christian
Christian A. Cavallo

Partner
Goldberg Segalla

Mr. Cavallo is an insurance coverage litigator representing insurers in high-value cases in state and federal courts....  |  Read More

Hudgins, Rachel
Rachel E. Hudgins

Attorney
Hunton Andrews Kurth

Ms. Hudgins represents clients in complex insurance coverage and bad faith litigation.

 |  Read More
Johnstone, F. Inge
F. Inge Johnstone

Partner
Johnstone Carroll

Mr. Johnstone has litigated a wide variety of matters, including insurance disputes, business disputes, fraud, personal...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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