Betts Patterson Mines

Division One Affirms Trial Court Ruling that Forged Lease Precludes Extra-Contractual Claims

The Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One, recently upheld the trial court’s dismissal of an insured’s claim for bad faith and CPA damages in a published decision, –P.3d –, 2013 WL 7093203. In the case, Jeff Tindal and Joe Hampton represented an insurer which was sued for contractual and extra-contractual damages following a fire at the insured’s residence. The insured alleged he was owed additional money under his policy and that the insurer’s delays caused him substantial financial harm.  On the morning of trial, the insurer prevailed on a motion for judgment as a matter of law following the late discovery of plaintiff’s insurance fraud involving a forged lease. In a motion for reconsideration, and then on appeal, the plaintiff argued that he should be able to pursue extra-contractual claims for alleged bad faith conduct that preceded his admitted fraud. This argument failed in the trial court, and the decision was affirmed on appeal.