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INSURANCE - STATE FARM FIRE AND CAS. CO. V. BRECHBILL

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.
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