In April 2022, Colman Perkins Law Group won a unanimous verdict for Safeco Insurance Company in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Safeco was both plaintiff and cross-defendant in this car accident case. They had halted payments to their insured, driver of a Mercedes Maybach, and began investigating when they learned his claim may be falsified.
Safeco sued their insured for fraud and breach of his duty of good faith and fair dealing. F1 Collision Center and the insured brought a cross-complaint against Safeco for bad faith.
The invisible accident
The Maybach driver maintained that a Maserati Ghibli ran a stop sign in West Hollywood in March 2018 and struck the front driver’s side of his Maybach. There were no reported witnesses, no injuries and neither driver filed a police report.
After the collision, the Maserati driver (uninvolved in this trial) made a claim to her insurance company. That carrier discovered that her car’s Electronic Data Recorder (EDR) was blank and passed along the findings to Safeco.
By then, Safeco had paid $46,730 toward their insured’s claimed repairs. The company halted further payments and looked deeper into the evidence.
Fraud attorneys build a case
James Perkins and Brittany Auchard of Colman Perkins Law Group, a firm with a specialty in battling insurance fraud, led the Safeco team in pursuing their case.
CPLG brought in three accident reconstructionists to clarify the collision and its aftermath:
- one expert testified the Maybach did not record the reported collision
- the second concluded the accident, as claimed, could not have caused either car’s damage
- the third reported neither car recorded the incident, but both had been damaged enough to “wake up” their data recorders and log an incident
The demand for damages
Safeco sought reimbursement of the $46,730 and $150,000 in punitive damages.
The defendant/cross-complainant alleged that Safeco breached the insurance contract and requested past economic damages from Safeco of $131,863.63.
A resounding verdict
The three-day trial culminated in a one-hour deliberation and 12-0 verdict for Safeco. The jury awarded Safeco $46,730.03 for past economic damages and $190,000 in punitive damages. F1 Collision Center and the Maybach driver were awarded nothing.