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Ga. Woman Wins State Farm Bad Faith Case

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Dec. 20, 2016—The Georgia Supreme Court has refused to hear State Farm's appeal of a 2014 verdict in an insurance bad faith and breach of contract case versus State Farm, involving a Georgia policyholder who had a Honda Accord insured by a State Farm policy in 2011.

In 2011 the policyholder had her tires flattened, windows broken and the paint of her car scratched by a vandal. State Farm subsequently refused to pay towing costs, full car rental and full costs of repair when the plaintiff selected Hernandez Collision Center to repair her car. All of those elements should have been covered by the woman's policy.

State Farm estimators testified that the plaintiff's car could be repaired in Savannah, Ga., for $5,045. Court documents state, though, that Hernandez Collision Center repair estimate was $9,589.

Court documents note that State Farm's refusal to pay full repair costs left the plaintiff owing the body shop a balance of $4,297 for her repairs, and that she paid $1,125 for her rental car. The jury returned a verdict favoring the plaintiff for all damages she sought, plus $5,000. The jury also awarded her $30,000 in attorney fees. State Farm appealed the verdict to the Georgia Court of Appeals, alleging that the trial court should have dismissed the case, had improperly instructed the jury and had admitted testimony that State Farm believed was prejudicial.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict without opinion. State Farm then filed a petition to the Georgia Supreme Court which was denied.

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