Bierman v. United Farm Family Insurance Co.: Limits aggregate to cross Md. Code Ins. 27-1001's million dollar cap on the MIA's bad faith jurisdiction when the policy says nothing on aggregation.

January 6, 2015

Since Maryland Courts rarely say anything at all about Maryland's bad faith statute, I always keep an eye out for cases from the Federal District Court of Maryland. Even if those cases are not reported, they wind up on PACER, so you can access them. And unreported District Court law is better than no law.

 

So: Bierman v. United Farm Family Insurance Co., Case 1:12-cv-02445-RDB; Document 27; (May 6, 2013): Memorandum Opinion on Motion to Dismiss. 

 

Insureds have three policies with Insurer. The policies aggregate to more than a million dollars, but do not exceed a million dollars individually. This matters because 27-1001 allows cases for more than a million dollars to bypass the MIA hearing. 

 

The policies do not say anything about aggregation. The Court decides that they do aggregrate because the policies are ambiguous and ambiguity goes in favor of the Insured in Maryland. The Court therefore held that the policies did meet the million dollar threshhold. See Pages 13-14.

 

 

 

Two side notes:

 

It says something about Maryland's bad faith regime that the District Court judge mistook Courts and Judicial Proceedings 3-1701 for being part of the Insurance code. See page 13. Having the jurisdictional rules in a different section than the bad faith regime just leads to confusion.

 

Also, it's interesting that the Court is discussing this as relevant to C & JP 3-1701 rather than Ins. 27-1001. That does not really matter much except for retrieving the case. If you looked for Ins. 27-1001, this probably would not come up. 

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