The performance of an insurer’s claim staff is a key fact issue in cases involving an insurer’s unreasonable denial of insurance benefits in bad faith. Performance evaluations for claims staff involved in the denial of a claim are often one of the main sources of discovery that sheds light on the reasonableness or unreasonableness of an insurer’s conduct. Yet time and again, insurers refuse to produce these documents, wrongly claiming that they are not relevant and are protected by privacy rights.
Pillsbury & Coleman has repeatedly and successfully moved to compel production of performance evaluations. The case Howard, et al. v. Federated Mutual Insurance Company, San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC-22-601299 was no exception. In a November 2023 ruling, Judge Pro Tem John-Paul Deol granted Pillsbury’s motion to compel the production of performance evaluations for the three members of Federated’s claims staff involved in denying plaintiff’s claim. The ruling reaffirms that insurers cannot hide behind spurious objections and that plaintiffs are entitled to all documents relevant to proving bad faith.