Bad faith claim settles for $11,000,000 after insurer refused to defend the plaintiffs’ claims


Despite paying her policy premiums regularly, a premises owner’s insurance company refused to defend her in a lawsuit brought after two young men suffered gunshot wounds at a party she threw on her property. The bad faith claim arose after Elinor Leary and Alexandra Hamilton, representing both gunshot victims and the wife of one of the victims, secured an eight-figure judgment at trial.

Underlying Action

The defendant owner hosted a business party in an industrial part of the Bay Area. Before the party, the warehouse owner promoted the party on Facebook. She hired one of the plaintiffs, a DJ, to work the party. The DJ brought his wife, and his best friend to help him with the setup for the party. The defendant promised the plaintiffs that only close friends would be invited, so security would not be necessary.

On the night of the party, dozens of uninvited people showed up. The defendant assigned an untrained employee to act as bouncer. He was ineffective in preventing people from entering. Tensions grew and scuffles broke out inside. The fighting escalated, at which point the defendant opened a set of metal roll-up doors, pushed everyone outside into a parking lot, and locked the doors. The plaintiffs were trapped outside with the assailants, who continued to attack the guests. Shots were fired, several of which struck the two men. The wife of one of the plaintiffs was nearby and witnessed the immediate aftermath of her husband’s shooting.

Result of Bad Faith Action

After The Veen Firm obtained a significant judgment against the defendant, the defendant joined the plaintiffs in filing a second lawsuit against the insurance company who refused to defend the underlying action. That case settled recently for $11,000,000, finally providing closure to the plaintiffs and their families.

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