State Farm Fire and Cas. Co. v. Brechbill, [Ms. 1111117, Sept. 27, 2013] ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2013). This opinion
addresses the type of bad-faith-failure-to-pay claim where the plaintiff
is not entitled to a judgment as a matter of law on the contract claim.
The opinion refers to such a claim as an "abnormal" bad-faith
claim or, in the terminology adopted for the opinion, a "bad-faith-failure-to-investigate"
claim. The Court holds: "A bad-faith-refusal-to-investigate claim
cannot survive where the trial court has expressly found as a matter of
law that the insurer had a reasonably legitimate or arguable reason for
refusing to pay the claim at the time the claim was denied." Chief
Justice Moore wrote the majority opinion and also wrote a special concurrence
in which he expresses the opinion that the Court violated separation of
powers principles when it adopted the tort in 1981.