Hedayati v. Interinsurance Exchange of the Auto. ClubAnnotate this Case
Maryam Hedayati appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club (Auto Club or the Club) on Hedayati’s breach of good faith and fair dealing claim. Hedayati suffered catastrophic injuries in October 2012 when Auto Club’s insured ran a red light and struck her in a pedestrian crosswalk. The insured driver immediately notified Auto Club of the accident and authorized the Club to disclose his policy limits ($25,000); he also informed Auto Club he had no other insurance or assets. Auto Club’s policy with its insured required him to relinquish to the Club his right to negotiate settlement of potential tort claims falling within the policy. When he inquired about a release, Auto Club inaccurately told its insured driver Hedayati was not willing to sign one. Despite repeated requests during settlement negotiations from Hedayati’s attorney, Auto Club initially declined to disclose the insured’s policy limits; eventually it acquiesced, but Auto Club still declined to provide written proof of those limits, which the Club knew was common practice to facilitate a settlement. Auto Club then withheld from Hedayati’s counsel the insured’s written declaration which indicated he had no other insurance, which the Club had confirmed, and the insured’s statements that he had no assets. Auto Club also, despite multiple requests from Hedayati’s lawyer, failed to provide a copy of its insured’s policy which Hedayati’s lawyer needed to verify its terms. Hedayati’s counsel had demanded a hard copy of the policy as a settlement condition. Auto Club ultimately failed to settle the matter within its $25,000 policy limits. Hedayati subsequently obtained a $26 million judgment against the insured driver, along with assignment of the insured’s claim against the Club for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implicit in its policy with him. The trial court concluded the evidence presented by Hedayati was insufficient as a matter of law. After its de novo review, the Court of Appeal disagreed with the trial court’s evaluation of the evidence. It therefore reversed the summary judgment ruling and remanded for further proceedings.