Ehrlich Law Firm wins affirmance of bad-faith claim against insurer

California Writs and Appeals Attorney

Ehrlich Law Firm wins affirmance of bad-faith claim against insurer who refused to defend its insured in $11-million bad-faith claim

California Court of Appeal Third Appellate District SacramentoIn May 2002, Darrel Prindle murdered his ex-wife, Jessica, and shot her sister and her sister’s children. The survivors filed a lawsuit against Jessica’s estate for negligently failing to warn them of Darrel’s prior threats and dangerous behavior. Jessica’s homeowner’s insurer, Travelers, refused to defend the estate in the lawsuit, and refused to settle it for the $100,000 policy limits. The estate later settled with the plaintiffs, who obtained a judgment against it in excess of $7 million, and then assigned its rights to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs then sued Travelers on the assigned claims. Travelers sought summary judgment arguing that the plaintiffs’ bad-faith claim was defective because they had failed to file a timely claim against Jessica’s estate.

In a published decision, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the summary judgment motion, holding that Travelers was estopped to assert the failure to file a timely probate claim, by virtue of its refusal to defend. In re: Estate of Prindle, 173 Cal.App.4th 119 (3d Dist. 2009).  The Ehrlich Law Firm then successfully opposed Travelers’ petition for review in the California Supreme Court.


Los Angeles County Civil Appeals Attorney

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