In Johnson v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No: 6:15–cv–1942–Orl–31TBS, 2016 WL 1127748 (M.D. Fla. March 21, 2016) (Presnell, J.), the plaintiff in State Court received a jury verdict in excess of policy limits on a UM claim. She then asked for and received leave to amend to allege a bad faith claim. The Florida State Court Judge left entry of the judgment open, however.
The UM carrier removed the case to Federal Court. The Federal Judge denied the plaintiff's motion to remand the case to State Court. The UM carrier then asked the Federal Judge to dismiss the bad faith claim. As there was no final determination of damages in the UM case because there was no final, appealable judgment, the Federal Court granted relief but refused to dismiss. Instead, the Federal Judge abated the UM bad faith claim "pending entry of judgment and any appeal taken by State Farm." Johnson v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No: 6:15–cv–1942–Orl–31TBS, 2016 WL 1127748, at *2 (M.D. Fla. March 21, 2016) (Presnell, J.).
The Federal Judge did not say so, but his reasoning was apparent that the State Judge retained jurisdiction over the UM case for at least the purpose of entering judgment on the jury verdict.
Please Read The Disclaimer. ©2016 by Dennis J. Wall, author of Litigation and Prevention of Insurer Bad Faith (3d ed. Thomson Reuters West in 2 Volumes, with Supplements). Abatement of UM bad faith claims in particular is discussed in Volume 2, § 11:24, "Other defenses: Defenses potentially available in all claims and cases of first-party insurance bad faith." All rights reserved.