Turning a $25,000 Claim into a $3 Million Verdict
I wonder how Nationwide Insurance Company feels about the $3 million it invested in legal fees to defend a $25,000 collision claim. Although it took “18 years of litigation to achieve justice,” that was the final verdict and the language used by Judge Sprecher of Berks County. Berks County is not exactly known as a favorable venue for plaintiffs, so this is truly a remarkable verdict.
The court stated further that it based its verdict on Nationwide’s:
unfounded refusal to pay a valid claim because it
was not economically advantageous to do it, the risk of harm to Plaintiffs and the public by allowing a structurally unsound vehicle to be operated and traveling on public roads, and the tremendous obstacles, including concealment of evidence, erected by Defendant which forced Plaintiffs and their counsel to endure more than eighteen years to achieve justice.
The court awarded interest at the rate of prime plus 3%, punitive damages totaling $18,000,000 and court costs and attorney fees of $3,000.000. Unfortunately, Mrs. Berg, one of the Plaintiffs, did not live to see the verdict, having passed away of breast cancer about six weeks ago. It sounds like something out of a John Grisham novel, The Rainmaker. Ben Mayerson represents the Plaintiffs.
Stay tuned for Nationwide’s appeal.