On January 6, 2006, Superior Court Trial Judge Paul Innes, J.S.C. ruled that CNA Insurance Company acted unreasonably in delaying my client’s right to arbitrate an underinsured motorist claim. The Court also found that CNA failed to exercise due diligence in its failure to put on notice a second insurance carrier.

My client was involved in a motor vehicle collision which was caused by a 17-year-old pizza delivery boy who ran a stop sign. As a result of the violent collision, my client sustained a traumatic brain injury which has left him permanently disabled. Suit was instituted against the 17-year-old and against his employer who, as it turned out, was uninsured. The case against the 17-year-old was settled for $225,000.00. At that point, plaintiff filed a claim for underinsured motorist against his own insurance carrier, CNA, since the defendant’s insurance policy was willfully inadequate to fully compensate him.

CNA refused to recognize the claim and refused to arbitrate as required under the insurance policy. I filed a Complaint and Order to Show Cause to compel CNA to explain its refusal. On Friday, Judge Innes ruled that CNA’s refusal was improper and its delay was unreasonable. CNA also asserted that another insurance company, Clarendon Insurance Company, was either fully or partially responsible for paying plaintiff’s claim. However, Judge Innes ruled that CNA’s failure to timely put Clarendon on notice prejudiced Clarendon. As a result, Judge Innes dismissed CNA’s claim against Clarendon finding that it failed to exercise due diligence. The case will be scheduled for arbitration in the near future.