Personal Injury - Barnes V Bahadaran

Type of Action – Personal injury and fraud

Type of Injuries – Soft-tissue injuries to the neck and back

Name of Case – Client vs. Insurance Co.

Courts / Case Numbers – City of Chesapeake Circuit Court / CL 98-831 and U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, Norfolk Division / 2:01cv361

Judge or Jury – Jury trial in Chesapeake Circuit Court and settled in Norfolk Federal District Court

Name of Judge – Judge Norman Olitsky

Damages Awarded / Settled – Awarded and Settled

Amount – $ 100,000 in circuit court and $75,000 in federal court

Attorney for Plaintiff – Gregory S. Larsen, Chesapeake

Other Useful Information – In the Chesapeake circuit-court case, the plaintiff received soft-tissue injuries to the neck and back resulting from an automobile accident in which the defendant had pulled out in front of the plaintiff. The defendant had $25,000 of liability coverage and the plaintiff had a $50,000 UM/UIM policy.The plaintiff served one of her UIM carrier’s subsidiary corporations, Nationwide Insurance Company of America, rather than the actual UIM carrier, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. For over a year, Nationwide Insurance Company of America filed responsive pleadings, responded to discovery, and rejected arbitration as though it were the proper UIM carrier.

The defendant offered $20,000 and the plaintiff demanded $40,000. The jury returned a $100,000 verdict for the plaintiff. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, the actual UIM carrier, refused to pay, arguing the wrong insurance carrier had been served.

The plaintiff caused a copy of the motion for judgment to be served upon the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and made a post-verdict motion to amend the pleadings and insert Nationwide Mutual as the proper carrier pursuant to Virginia Code Sect. 8.01-6.2. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company conceded knowledge of the action from its inception.

The trial judge denied the motion to amend and the plaintiffs subsequent motion for new trial. The plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia regarding the denial of the motion to amend and the trial court’s failure to sanction the attorneys for Nationwide Insurance Company of America. The Supreme Court of Virginia granted the plaintiffs petition.

Meanwhile, the plaintiff brought an action for compensatory and punitive damages against Nationwide Insurance Company of America for actual and constructive fraud and intentional interference with a contract expectancy. The Nationwide Insurance Company of America removed the action to federal court in Norfolk and filed a Rule 12 (b)(6) motion to dismiss, which the court denied. Nationwide Insurance Company of America then filed a motion for a stay pending the outcome of the appeal in the Supreme Court of Virginia, which the court also denied. In the wake of the court’s denial of its motion fora stay, Nationwide Insurance Company of America agreed to the plaintiffs demand of $75,000, which included $50,000 in punitive damages.

“Negligence, Automobile Accident–Soft Tissue-Improper Service–Fraud.” Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly 17 Dec. 2001.