Justice Demanded: Woman Urges 9th Circuit to Uphold $5.7M Award in Bad Faith Lawsuit Against Farmers Insurance


(USA Herald) – Barbara Stein is fighting for her right to receive the full policy limits for injuries she suffered in a car crash. She accused Farmers Insurance Co. of Arizona of bad faith for not paying the full policy limits, resulting in a $5.7 million award. Now, she is urging the Ninth Circuit to uphold her award, arguing that there is “overwhelming” evidence to support her claims.

According to Samuel Lopez, a legal news contributor for USA Herald, Stein claims that Farmers’ employees and witnesses were its most damaging testimony. Stein argued that the evidence of Farmers’ bad faith and unfair practices was so overwhelming that the jury found not only a verdict on liability but also awarded punitive damages.

In December, Farmers asked the court to reverse the award, claiming that it did not offer the full $500,000 policy limit to Stein after the crash due to her “lengthy history of prior conditions and surgeries.” The insurer also cited the opinion of a doctor who concluded that some of Stein’s claimed injuries were not related to the crash.

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However, Stein argues that Farmers’ decision to not pay her for lost income from a “nonexistent” jewelry business was unjustified. She claimed that the insurer ignored New Mexico’s “‘eggshell’ plaintiff rule,” meaning that even if she had prior medical conditions, the insurer was still responsible for the aggravation of those conditions.

Furthermore, Stein argued that Farmers refused to give value to her inability to continue jewelry making, which had been a large part of her life for several decades. Farmers said it paid $175,000 to Stein relating to her claims submitted against her policy and offered to pay another $95,000 to settle the underlying lawsuit brought by Stein and her husband, Stuart.

Stein is represented by Michael N. Poli of Poli Moon & Zane PLLC, while Farmers Insurance Co. of Arizona is represented by Mitchell C. Tilner and Curt Cutting of Horvitz & Levy and Andrew S. Hollins of Messner Reeves LLP.

Although Stein scored the award in the underlying suit, she said on Monday that the district court denied her motion for post-judgment interest under New Mexico’s substantive law. She is challenging the district court’s decision regarding that matter in a cross-appeal.

The insurance dispute stems from a vehicle crash that occurred in September 2018 while the Steins, both New Mexico residents, were traveling to Denver. The crash destroyed Stein’s quality of life in her retirement years, she said Monday, and that by February 2019, the accident caused damage far beyond the $500,000 limits of the uninsured motorist coverage under her policy.

In conclusion, Stein is fighting for justice in her bad faith lawsuit against Farmers Insurance Co. of Arizona. The evidence of Farmers’ bad faith and unfair practices was so overwhelming that the jury awarded her punitive damages. Now, she is urging the Ninth Circuit to uphold her award and restore her quality of life in her retirement years.

By Samuel Lopez, Legal News Contributor for USA Herald