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Jury returns $6.5 million verdict for Steve German client

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In 2012, an Arizona man suffered a traumatic brain injury that made him unable to continue working. Not only did he suffer from physical disabilities, the injury ultimately led to debilitating mental health issues requiring multiple hospitalizations.

He was receiving disability benefits under a policy he had purchased in 1995, when his disability insurance company suddenly stopped making payments, claiming that it saw no evidence of impairment in his medical records. This news -- and his complete loss of benefits -- was financially and emotionally devastating to the man, his wife and their two young daughters.

It was later discovered that the insurance company had not even reviewed eight to nine months of his most recent medical records. Unfortunately, he and his family suffered greatly because of the company's refusal to pay his benefits.

"Evil mind" led to termination of man's benefits

During the ensuing lawsuit, a jury found that the man's disability insurance carrier, Country Life Insurance Company and C.C. Services, Inc. (both doing business as Country Financial), acted with an "evil mind" and a conscious disregard of the harm a denial would cause to the man and his family. It put its own profits ahead of its insureds. Because of the bad faith exhibited by the carrier, the jury awarded:

  • Past and future disability benefits that he was owed under his policy
  • Emotional distress and loss of quality of life because of their bad faith denial
  • $5 million in punitive damages -- punishment that aims to keep an insurer from doing this again to someone else

Sadly, this is not the first time in the past year that this insurance carrier misrepresented the facts of a claim. In a 2016 published opinion, the U.S. District of Arizona entered the most severe sanctions possible against Country Life by striking its answer in a disability insurance bad-faith lawsuit. In that case, Sell v. Country Life, the company and its legal representatives were found to have intentionally withheld and manipulated evidence to create a false narrative and escape culpability. That case was resolved without a trial. 

Protecting the rights of workers throughout Arizona

This $6.5 million verdict is extremely important for the rights of insured workers and their families throughout Arizona and the rest of the country. It shows the worst that can happen when an insurance company acts in bad faith and terminates a legitimate disability claim. Hopefully, the outcome of the case sends a message to all disability insurance carriers that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in this state or across the nation.

Read more about this case and other success stories obtained by the law firm of Steve German on behalf of their clients.

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