Ringing the bell twice

There is an interesting article concerning the latest developments over the case of Jurinko v. Medical Protective Corp., the largest insurance bad faith verdict in Pennsylvania history, reprinted in Law.com from The Legal Intelligencer, at http://www.law.com/jsp/law/sfb/lawArticleSFB.jsp?id=1144330160389. The article concerns the plaintiffs' lawyers attempt to make new law that would increase the attorney's fee award to them as the prevailing plaintiffs in this insurance bad faith case, a case which is nicely summed up in the court's opinion on post trial motions at http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/06d0372p.pdf.

The article points out that fee awards are entirely discretionary under Pennsylvania law, and discusses that the plaintiffs' lawyers are trying to convince the court to vary from the usual application in that jurisdiction of the lodestar method of awarding attorney's fees.

Such an award would not be discretionary in Massachusetts, where General Laws Chapter 93A, which is the operative statute for bringing a bad faith action against an insurer, mandates such awards to plaintiffs. This is entirely consistent with Massachusetts law in general at this point, which essentially provides a carve out for insurance disputes, in most circumstances, from the typical pay your own way rule with regard to attorney's fees. Instead, in this state, if the policyholder or the claimant wins a coverage or bad faith dispute, their attorney's fees typically become the problem of the insurer that ended up on the wrong side of the verdict.