BAD FAITH: $8.37 MILLION
Court: Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Case name: Park Terrace LLC v. Transportation Insurance Co., et al.
Case number: 2007CV012848
Judge: Hon. William Pocan
Verdict & settlement: Verdict in favor of plaintiff
Award: $8.37 million
Special damages: Of the $8,370,000 awarded, $4,000,000 was punitive damages.
Date of incident: Oct. 21, 2005
Disposition date: May 14, 2010
Plaintiffs attorney (firm): Counsel for Plaintiff Park Terrace, LLC: Douglas W. Rose, Rose & deJong, S.C., Milwaukee; Rose was assisted on the case by attorneys Jennifer Geller Baumann and Victor E. Plantinga, both of Rose and deJong, S.C.
Defendants attorney (firm): Counsel for Defendant Johnson Insurance Services, LLC: Christine K. Nelson, Nelson, Connell, Conrad, Tallmadge & Slein, S.C., Waukesha; Counsel for Defendant Transportation Insurance Company (a part of CNA Insurance): Zacarias Chacon, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, Chicago
Plaintif counsel’s summary of case status: On Friday afternoon, May 14, 2010, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury awarded $8,370,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to Park Terrace, LLC, a local development company that built row house and bluff home condominiums in the Beerline neighborhood of Milwaukee. Park Terrace’s attorney, Douglas W. Rose of Rose & deJong, S.C., stated that the verdict will hopefully “send a message” to the defendant, Transportation Insurance Company, a part of the CNA Insurance companies, not to engage in bad faith conduct.
A large fire occurred during construction of the condominium project in Oct. 21, 2005. Although the property damage portion of the claim was paid by CNA, Park Terrace claimed that CNA engaged in bad faith conduct by failing to provide coverage and payment pursuant to a loss of income endorsement to the fire insurance policy that was in place at the time of the fire. Of the $8,370,000 awarded, $4,000,000 was punitive damages.
According to Rose, CNA’s conduct was “reprehensible,” and that the trial evidence and testimony revealed that bad faith conduct was “systemic” throughout the CNA companies. Insurance experts called during the two week trial testified that CNA acted in bad faith towards its own insured, and that the insurance company “took the umbrella to protect the insured and hit them over the head with it.”
Judge William Pocan presided over the trial, and found as a matter of law that CNA had improperly reformed the policy. The jury deliberated Friday afternoon for a total of approximately two hours before reaching its verdict.
Rose stated that Park Terrace made every possible effort to resolve the matter prior to trial, but that CNA offered absolutely nothing prior to the commencement of the trial proceedings. He stated that the jury was “extremely attentive throughout,” and felt they reached a “fair and just decision.”