Two lawsuits filed against State Farm for breach of contract

By Kyla Asbury | Jul 17, 2017

HUNTINGTON – Two lawsuits have been filed against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. after the plaintiffs claim the insurance agency breached its contract with them.

Roy Blankenship, Jason Elkins and John or Jane Doe were also named as defendants in the suits.

Bruce Tackett and Cathy Tackett were in Cathy Tackett’s 2005 Pontiac Vibe driving through Huntington on Aug. 5, 2015, when they stopped at the intersection of Terrance Drive, according to two complaints filed June 27 in Cabell Circuit Court.

The Tacketts claim Ivy Shears was operating a 2010 Chevrolet Camero while under the influence of drugs and alcohol and failed to stop her vehicle and violently collided with the rear of a 2001 Acura MDX driven by Jamie Ahler, who’s vehicle subsequently collided with the rear of the Tackett vehicle.

Shears was cited at fault for the collision at the scene for failing to yield the right of way and arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance and alcohol, according to the suits.

The Tacketts claim they both suffered severe and permanent injuries; bodily pain and suffering; emotional distress; and impairment of their capacity to enjoy life.

At the time of the accident, the Tacketts had a policy with State Farm that provided additional underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $20,000 per person.

Shears was insured by United Services Automobile Association and the plaintiffs timely notified USAA of the collision and made a timely claim for benefits under Shears’ policy. USAA extended the offer to settle the plaintiffs’ claims $10,000 each, as her $40,000 per occurrence policy limits were exhausted by other claimants, according to the suits.

The Tacketts claim they then notified State Farm and inquired about the UIM coverage and were informed their policy did not provide UIM coverage.

When the plaintiffs hired counsel, and the attorney sent a letter to the defendants, State Farm confirmed UIM coverage was applicable for the plaintiffs’ injuries that occurred in the accident, according to the suits.

The Tacketts claim State Farm was notified of USAA’s offer to settle for policy limits and State Farm consented to the settlement.

On May 12, State Farm offered the plaintiffs $500 for their injuries and a thinly disguised attempt to “low ball” the claimants, according to the suits.

The Tacketts claim on June 2, the defendants refused to increase its offer even though they had incurred thousands of dollars of additional medical bills.

The defendants breached their contract and duty of good faith and fair dealing with the Tacketts, according to the suits.

The Tacketts are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Brian Alan Prim and Joshua Dean Pearson.

The cases have been assigned to Circuit Judge Christopher D. Chiles.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 17-C-373, 17-C-374

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