Really? You could have settled for $60K and now your insured owes $267 million?
A plaintiff who won a $267 million verdict for improper debt collection calls is now suing the debt collector’s insurance company alleging that the insurer could have settled the case for as little as $60,000 but refused and, instead, exposed its insured to a trial that ended in a $267 million verdict. Ignacio Perez, the plaintiff in the underlying case, filed a lawsuit against XL America, XL Group and Indian Harbor Insurance (“XL Entities”) on November 5, 2019 in the Northern District of California alleging that the XL Entities rejected several settlement offers ranging from $60,000 to $825,000, refused to make any offer at mediation, and refused even to come to the negotiation table for more than two years. The litigation culminated in a trial at which the court rendered a $267 million judgment against Rash Curtis & Associates, the debt collector accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by calling Perez and class members. Unable to satisfy the whopping judgment, Rash Curtis assigned its claim against the XL Entities to Perez, and Perez filed suit. It’s too early to tell how this litigation will unfold and whether the XL Entities will ultimately be required to satisfy the entire judgment. But the moral of the story remains: If you are an insurer, think twice before cavalierly rejecting an early settlement offer. The case is Perez v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL America, Inc., and XL Group, Ltd., Case No. 4:19-cv-07288, Northern District of California.