Friday, December 14, 2012

Motion to Dismiss Granted for Direct Claim Against Insurance Company for "Negligent Issuance of an Insurance Policy"

          Recently, Associate, Derrick H. Dye, successfully argued in a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted, that a direct suit against an insurance company for the tort of "negligent issuance of an insurance contract" is not a claim recognized under Maryland law.

          In this suit, the creative Plaintiff sued the driver of the vehicle in which he was a passenger, but also brought a direct claim against that driver's insurance company, arguing that the insurance company had a duty to the public-at-large to properly screen potential insureds for aggressive behavior, criminal activity, etc., prior to issuing that potential insured a policy of insurance.  The Plaintiff's argument, in a nutshell, was that insurance companies should not offer insurance to persons with criminal backgrounds, or to those who have a history of driving recklessly, dangerously, or with disregard for the safety of others.

          Mr. Dye successfully convinced the Circuit Court for Baltimore City that such a claim is, in fact, contrary to public policy and is not recognized under Maryland law, and the claim against the insurance company was dismissed with prejudice.  Practically speaking, if insurance carriers were to deny coverage to persons with histories of reckless driving, for fear that insuring such individuals could result in claims such as the above being filed in court, the persons that most need to be insured might not be, which could result in an increase in uninsured motorists on the road.  This is something that Maryland, and indeed most states in the union, have sought to do away with by enacting compulsory insurance laws.  


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