McClune v. Farmers Insurance Co., Inc., No. 20-1768 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
After settling with the liability carrier, plaintiff filed an Underinsured Motorist (UIM) claim with her insurer, Farmers. Farmers made a settlement offer that was rejected by plaintiff when she presented a significantly higher counteroffer. In response to the counteroffer, Farmers continued its investigation by requesting updated medical documents and informing plaintiff that she needed to submit to an examination under oath (EUO). Plaintiff refused and filed this action.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Farmers, concluding that, by commencing suit, plaintiff materially breached the cooperation clause with Farmers. The court explained that nothing in the language of the policy draws a distinction between an initial investigation or a reopened investigation, and plaintiff has cited nothing in either her policy or Missouri law supporting her claim that her duty to cooperate was extinguished under these circumstances. Furthermore, plaintiff waived her argument that she was excused from waiving her duty to cooperate and the evidence does not support her claim that Farmers waived its right to request an EUO. The court concluded that when plaintiff failed to submit to the requested EUO, she prevented Farmers from continuing its investigation of her claim. Consequently, her refusal prejudiced Farmers. Finally, the record demonstrates that Farmers was reasonably diligent in its decision to require plaintiff's participation at an EUO.