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Individual Liability in Bad Faith Actions: Theories of Recovery, Defenses, Current Case Law

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, August 16, 2018

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will explore the pursuit and defense of causes of action against individual adjusters and insurance company personnel for bad faith. Addressing these claims varies broadly across the jurisdictional spectrum, and our panel will provide guidance on the viability of claims, strategies for defending and recovering, and the current state of case law.


While liability for bad faith claims is typically limited to insurance companies, recent case law demonstrates that courts are willing to attribute fault to individual claims adjusters and employees of insurers. Recovery for these causes of action bases viability in the steps adjusters take during the investigation and adjustment of the underlying insurance claim.

Courts have historically relied upon an adjuster’s status as an independent third-party rather than as an employee of the insurer. However, a Washington appellate court recently held that a policyholder may directly sue an insurance claims adjuster for bad faith and violations of the state’s consumer protection act, even if the adjuster acted within the course and scope of his employment.

Counsel for insurers are familiar with the joinder of individual third-party adjusters to a bad faith action as a means of frustrating diversity jurisdiction and defeating removal of the case to federal court. This expansion in the scope of potential liability for individual claims adjusters demonstrates a shift in how courts handle the fraudulent joinder defense in the context of bad faith cases.

Listen as our panel of experienced insurance practitioners offers insight on recovery and defenses for individual liability in bad faith actions and how the recent Washington appellate decision compares to holdings in other jurisdictions.



  1. Elements of insurance bad faith
    1. Corporate liability requirements
    2. Individual liability requirements
  2. Moun Keodalah, et al. v. Allstate Ins. Co., (Wash. Ct. App. Mar. 26, 2018)
    1. Summary of findings
    2. Impact on other jurisdictions
    3. Case law from other jurisdictions
  3. Considerations for insurers
  4. Considerations for policyholders


The panel will review these and other critical issues:

  • How have courts in the “big 4” jurisdictions handled claims of individual liability in bad faith cases?
  • Is an applicable statutory regime necessary for a claimant to secure recovery?
  • What if any distinguishing factors exist between first-party and third-party policies that would impact individual bad faith liability?


Evans, McKean
McKean J. Evans

Pivotal Law Group

Mr. Evans practices in civil litigation, representing individuals and small businesses in lawsuits vindicating their...  |  Read More

Petrilli, Daniel
Daniel L. Petrilli

Timoney Knox

Mr. Petrilli focuses his practice on the insurance industry, along with complex commercial litigation. He regularly...  |  Read More

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