A knockdown legal fight between an injured motorcyclist and an insurance company, with up to $10 million at stake, saw the first round go to the insurer. The plaintiff filed a bad-faith lawsuit against Equity Insurance, but that suit was dismissed on summary judgment in July 2019.
First, here are the details of the case.
An off-duty police officer, Amy Kemper was riding her motorcycle in Georgia’s Coweta Country. Christopher Brown, an intoxicated driver, ran off the road and into a mailbox, then ran into Kemper as he sought to return to the road. Brown has subsequently plead guilty to a wide range of charges pertaining to reckless driving. Kemper was airlifted to the hospital and began an expensive recovery process.
Brown’s insurance policy, issued by Equity, had a minimum coverage amount of $25,000. Those expenses would be vastly exceeded—indeed, the sum total of Kemper’s recovery will be over a million dollars. Equity was notified early on and presented with a claim amount near the $25k minimum coverage level.
Equity issued the check…sort of. The insurance carrier was worried about liens coming in from medical providers and sent the money with the condition that it be put into an escrow account to pay off any liens. Kemper rejected the conditional offer, sent the check back and started on a course that would lead her to file the bad-faith lawsuit.
Both sides dug in their heels. The insurance company refused to offer any kind of settlement absent an escrow fund to pay off potential liens. Kemper refused, insisting that she needed the money to live. The plaintiff then went one step further and demanded the insurer not have any contact with her, her family or her friends regarding any liens.
They were at an impasse and the July 2019 ruling in federal court dismissed Kemper’s case, finding her grounds for a refusal to discuss the liens to be unreasonable.
Kemper’s attorneys have vowed to appeal and the fight will continue.