Florida Courts deal with many bad faith claims. In particular, Florida Courts deal with many premature statutory first-party bad faith claims, and it is hard to get more particular than that.
However, Florida Courts have not definitively answered the question of what to do with a premature statutory first-party bad faith claim. In a recent case in a Federal Court in Florida, the Court wrote that "[b]oth parties recognize that a statutory bad faith claim that is filed prior to resolution of the underlying insurance claim is premature. However, they disagree as to what to do about the premature claim in the instant case." The plaintiff wanted to have his bad faith claim abated until his underlying claim of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage was determined. The UM/UIM carrier understandably wanted to have the bad faith claim dismissed instead. Gianassi v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 2014 WL 4999443 *2 (M.D. Fla. October 7, 2014).
The Florida Courts have not shown a clear route out of this quandary. "The Florida appellate courts have not settled on a single course of action for handling unripe bad faith claims." Some Florida Courts say abate; some say dismiss. Gianassi v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 2014 WL 4999443 *2 (M.D. Fla. October 7, 2014).
Left to its own wisdom in this case, the Federal Court opted for abatement as the course which offered the greater chance of ultimately being fair both to the parties and to the Courts: "As the law now stands in Florida, trial courts have the option of either abating or dismissing unripe bad faith claims. Because abatement offers at least the possibility of increased judicial efficiency for those bad faith claims that do become ripe, Count II [the bad faith count] will be abated rather than dismissed." Gianassi v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 2014 WL 4999443 *3 (M.D. Fla. October 7, 2014).
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