The insurer was partially successful in challenging two of the insureds' experts in a bad faith case. Estate of Arroyo v. Infinity Indem. Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115669 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 29, 2016).
The Estate sought to qualify two experts, Lewis N. Jack and James P. Schratz. They were to opine on Infinity's handling of the Estate's insurance claims and the extent of damages warranted in the case. Jack was to testify on Infinity's duties to the insured, its investigation of the case, its reliance on Infinity's agents, and his belief that Infinity could have settled the case. Schratz's opinions mostly concerned Infinity's handling of its investigation.
Jack had practiced law for over forty years and had advised insurance companies about claims handling and complying with Florida's insurance provisions. But he had no experience in personally handling claims, had not published any materials on the subject, and was unfamiliar with guidelines from the Florida Department of Insurance. His insurance law specialty did not qualify him to opine as an expert on Infinity's handling of the Estate's insurance claims. Further, Jack's opinion about the reasonableness of damages was unreliable since his conclusions related to damages in a separate state court action involving the passenger in the decedent's automobile. Therefore, all of Jack's opinions would be excluded.
Schratz was a licensed attorney who currently consulted with clients on claims handling techniques and procedures. He spent thirteen years working in various capacities, including claims handling, with Fireman's Fund. He had published several articles on claims handling during his thirty years of relevant experience. Therefore, Schratz was qualified to opine on national industry standards of insurance company claims handling and investigation processes, and how Infinity applied them in this case.
Some opinions from Schratz, however, would be inadmissible. Schratz could not mention the equal consideration doctrine, or describe the doctrine as the "industry standard" as he did in his deposition. There was no evidence that the doctrine had been formally applied in Florida. And while Schratz could cite to the problems with Infinity's claims handing and any of their agents' alleged missteps, he could not intimate a motive or intent to any of these actions. Therefore, any mention of Infinity "totally ignoring and disregarding the interest of its insured" and that its agent "made material misrepresentations" was barred.