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BAD FAITH LAW INOHIOCINCINNATI, OHCOLUMBUS, OHDETROIT, MIFT. MITCHELL, KYwww.smithrolfes.com-1- 2010ORLANDO, FLSARASOTA, FL

I.BAD FAITH LAW IN OHIO--AN OVERVIEWThere is surprisingly little you really need to know to understand bad faith law in Ohio.First, Ohio does recognize the tort of bad faith. It is a separate tort and is subject to its ownfour-year statute of limitations.Second, Ohio only recognizes first-party bad faith.Anyfirst-party claim for property, auto, or liability coverage may be subject to bad faith. First-partybad faith claims may, however, be assigned to others under Ohio law. Ohio does not recognizethird-party bad faith in any type of claim or coverage dispute. Third, bad faith law in Ohio isstrictly a “creature” of common law and is not governed by statute or code. In fact, the OhioUnfair Claims Practices Act is not even contained in the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.), butinstead is found in the much weaker Ohio Administrative Code (O.A.C.). There even remainsgood case law in Ohio stating violation of the Unfair Claims Practices Act of the O.A.C. may notbe used in a civil case to support a claim for bad faith. Fourth, even though Ohio adopteddamage limitations as part of tort reform in 2005, there is still no case law in Ohio whichaddresses whether the tort reform damage caps apply to bad faith claims.Without theserestrictions, Ohio has unlimited damage exposure for bad faith.Perhaps more dangerous than Ohio bad faith law, is the issue of lack of attorney/clientprivilege protection for insurers and their counsel in claims involving bad faith. In 2001, theOhio Supreme Court decided the case of Boone v. Vanliner Ins. Co., 91 Ohio St. 3d 209. In thatdecision, the Court ruled no attorney-client privilege existed between an insurer and its legalcounsel when the tort of bad faith was pled. This decision created such rancor it resulted in astatutory overruling of Boone by the Ohio General Assembly in S.B. 117 which became law onApril 5, 2007. Although not totally doing away with the Boone standard, the new law does placea more restrictive standard on when attorney/client privilege is abrogated.-2-

As we will address more fully, Ohio is still a good state for handling of insurance claims,but carriers doing business in Ohio must be mindful of not only Ohio’s current climate of badfaith laws and related rulings such as Boone, but also historically where Ohio courts havetraveled to reach where Ohio insurance law stands today.II.A BRIEF HISTORY OF OHIO BAD FAITH LAWThe date was December 30, 1994. On the final business day of the year, the OhioSupreme Court issued a decision which most people in the property and casualty insuranceindustry viewed as the equivalent of a nuclear explosion.The case was Zoppo v. Homestead Insurance Company (1994), 71 Ohio St. 3d 552. Fromthe day the Zoppo case was decided through now, the concern of the insurance industry relativeto this case has been misplaced. In its simplest reading, the Zoppo decision can be distilled downto one sentence:An insurer fails to exercise good faith in the processing of a claim of its insuredwhere its refusal to pay the claim is not predicated upon circumstances thatfurnish reasonable justification therefor.Zoppo Syllabus, Paragraph 1I have had the privilege of representing insurance carriers and their insureds for 25 years.Whether pre or post Zoppo, my advice to the carriers I represent has always been the same: “Ifyou do not have reasonable justification to deny a claim, pay your insured!”To understand Ohio bad faith law, it is important to understand the Zoppo decision inlight of the history of Ohio bad faith law. This is something which has been overlooked by mostinsurance professionals in analyzing the Zoppo decision. Although the Ohio Supreme Court, as-3-

constituted in the 1990s, issued many very unfavorable rulings to the insurance industry, theZoppo decision was not one of them.Ohio bad faith insurance law traces back originally to 1949. In Hart v. Republic MutualInsurance Company, 152 Ohio St. 185, the Ohio Supreme Court actually adopted a standard forbad faith based upon a test of reasonable justification. The same test used in Zoppo.From 1949 until 1962, the Ohio Supreme Court did not again address the issue ofinsurance bad faith. When the Court did address the issue in Slater v. Motorist Mutual InsuranceCompany, 174 Ohio St. 148, the Ohio Supreme Court once again adopted the reasonablejustification standard.For 21 years, the Ohio Supreme Court again left the area of bad faith insurance law alone.In 1983, in Hoskins v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, 6 Ohio St. 3d 272, the Ohio SupremeCourt affirmed its prior rulings in Hart and Slater by once again stating the reasonablejustification standard applied to bad faith Ohio law.In what would be the final pronouncement by the Court on bad faith before the keydecision preceding Zoppo, the Ohio Supreme Court in 1988 revisited the issue of insurance badfaith in the case of Staff Builders, Inc. v. Armstrong, 37 Ohio St. 3d 298. Compare what theCourt said in 1988 to the Zoppo decision in 1994:An insurer fails to exercise good faith in the processing of a claim of its insuredwhere its refusal to pay the claim is not predicated upon circumstances thatfurnish reasonable justification therefor.Staff Builders, supra at 303.-4-

The above decision from the Staff Builders case should strike you as almost identical tothe language in the Zoppo decision. If this is the case, then why did the Ohio insurance industrygo into a near panic when the Zoppo decision was decided in 1994?The answer to that question is found in a somewhat obscure case decided by the OhioSupreme Court in 1992. In Motorist Mutual Insurance Company v. Said, 63 Ohio St. 3d 690, theOhio Supreme Court for the first time in 43 years (going back to the Hart case) set forth adifferent standard than had ever been used before for Ohio bad faith law. In Said, the OhioSupreme Court stated the following:A cause of action arises for the tort of bad faith when an insurer breaches its dutyof good faith by intentionally refusing to satisfy an insured’s claim where there iseither (1) no lawful basis for the refusal coupled with actual knowledge of thatfact or (2) an intentional failure to determine whether there was any lawful basisfor such refusal.Said, supra, at Paragraph 3 of the syllabus (emphasis added.)Undoubtedly, the Said decision set forth a much more favorable standard for insurancecompanies in dealing with bad faith claims. In fact, in many respects the Ohio Supreme Courtstandard set forth in Said made it a virtual impossibility for any insured to ever prevail on a badfaith claim. The Said standard required, as an initial element, the insured must prove theinsurance carrier intentionally acted toward the insured in denying the claim before a bad faithclaim could be sustained. Although I sincerely do not believe any insurance company acted withthe belief they had “free reign” to wrongfully deny claims to their insureds, nevertheless, theSaid standard certainly set forth a very pro-insurance viewpoint of bad faith litigation.-5-

What is remarkable, however, is the Zoppo case, which was decided two years after Said,was not the monumental watershed in Ohio insurance law most insurance companies felt, orclaimed, it to be. The actual decision which deviated from 43 years of established Ohio law wasnot Zoppo but the Said decision in 1992. For decades, insurance carriers operated in the State ofOhio under the reasonable justification standard.The Zoppo decision in 1994, althoughexpressly overruling the Said decision from 1992, actually did nothing more than clarify andrestore the standard Ohio courts had used for bad faith litigation for more than four decades.III.OHIO BAD FAITH INSURANCE LAW SINCE ZOPPOPart of the fear of the Zoppo decision was the proverbial floodgates would open for badfaith litigation. An analysis of post-Zoppo case filings and jury verdicts has proven the Zoppocase has had virtually no direct impact on increasing the number of bad faith claims filed, nor isthere any evidence jury verdicts have increased following the 1994 ruling.Since the Zoppo decision, there have been few major pronouncements from the OhioSupreme Court regarding bad faith law. In 1998, the Ohio Supreme Court decided the case ofWagner v. Midwestern Indemnity Company, 83 Ohio St. 3d 287.The Wagner decision did not set forth any groundbreaking changes in Ohio bad faith law.Although the reasons why the Wagner decision may well be incorrect law for the State ofOhio will be addressed in the next section of this material; from a legal standard perspective, theWagner decision, in some respects, was actually favorable to the insurance industry.In discussing the issue of making a good faith effort to settle a claim, the Wagner courtadopted the standard originally set forth by the Ohio Supreme Court in Moskovitz v. Mt. SinaiMedical Center (1994), 69 Ohio St. 3d 638. In so doing, the Ohio Supreme Court in Wagner-6-

restated the standard: “subjective claims of lack of good faith will generally not be sufficient.”The specific issue being addressed in the Wagner case was whether prejudgment interest shouldbe awarded on the insurance claim where a substantial verdict had been returned for punitivedamages and bad faith.In Wagner, the Ohio Supreme Court did set forth a very clear standard implying morethan just subjective complaints of bad faith must be present to sustain a cause of action againstan insurer under the laws of the State of Ohio. If applied correctly, this standard should mean theburden clearly rests with the plaintiff to bring forth evidence demonstrating the insurer did nothave reasonable justification to take the action it did leading to denial of the insured’s claim.In the Wagner decision, the Ohio Supreme Court did publicly state for the first time theCourt was acknowledging the Zoppo decision set forth a lower standard of proof necessary tosustain an action for bad faith. In Wagner, the Court specifically noted:The reasonable justification standard set forth in Zoppo lessened the standard ofproof necessary to show that an insurer acted in bad faith, as proof of actualintent was no longer required. It is axiomatic that a standard based on intentimposes a higher burden of proof than one based on reasonableness.Wagner, supra at 290.Although applying the more lenient standard set forth by Zoppo, when read in its entirety,the Ohio Supreme Court in Wagner does still clearly set forth the burden rests upon the plaintiffto bring forth evidence of bad faith to sustain a claim under Ohio law.-7-

IV.A VIEW TO THE FUTUREWithout addressing political ideology, the current Ohio Supreme Court is generallyviewed as much more conservative than the Court members who were in the majority on theZoppo and Wagner cases. Nevertheless, the more conservative justices who now constitute themajority of the Ohio Supreme Court are, by their very nature, more inclined to view legal issuesconservatively, and most conservative judges are strong believers in the legal concept of staredecisis. Under this doctrine, it is generally held once a court issues a decision on a point of law,that decision remains valid law and will not be overturned.As such, it is doubtful the current members of the Ohio Supreme Court would viewfavorably overturning the prior decisions lawfully issued by the Ohio Supreme Court in Zoppoand Wagner merely because they may have a different judicial philosophy or ideology regardingOhio insurance law.There is a strong probability the Zoppo and Wagner standards will be with us for manydecades to come. Insurance companies and insurance professionals, therefore, must know theserulings and make certain at all times any decision to deny a claim meets the correct legalstandard of reasonable justification set forth by the Ohio Supreme Court.V.ANALYSIS OF THE ZOPPO AND WAGNER CLAIMSA.Zoppo.Neither the Zoppo nor the Wagner case would have reached the Ohio Supreme Court hadnot issues arisen which led an initial jury to rule in favor of finding bad faith, punitive damages,and extra-contractual liability on the part of Homestead Insurance in Zoppo and MidwesternIndemnity in Wagner. Although there is no such thing as the “perfect” insurance claim, there is-8-

certainly information to learn regarding Ohio bad faith law from analyzing these two importantcases.The facts of the Zoppo case are relatively straightforward and simple. On the morning ofOctober 13, 1988, a bar and restaurant owned by Donald Zoppo was destroyed by fire. Therewas no doubt the fire was an arson and accelerants were clearly found.Homestead Insurance provided coverage for the business in the amounts of FiftyThousand Dollars for the structure and Sixty-Five Thousand Dollars for contents.In a relatively timely manner, Homestead denied the claim stating, upon theirinvestigation, they believed Mr. Zoppo intentionally set the fire. In part, Homestead based thedenial on the fact Mr. Zoppo, they claimed, made material misrepresentations regarding hiswhereabouts on the night of the fire.At trial the jury did not agree with Homestead. The jury returned its verdict in favor ofMr. Zoppo awarding him Eighty Thousand Dollars on the breach of contract claim, and OneHundred Eighty-Seven Thousand Eight Hundred Dollars on the bad faith claim. Under thenexisting Ohio law, the jury also found in favor of Mr. Zoppo for punitive damages, and the trialcourt judge set the amount of punitive damages at Fifty Thousand Dollars.The arguments advanced by Homestead at the trial were Mr. Zoppo predominantly had amotive of financial gain for having burned the bar. Homestead agreed to insure the bar for FiftyThousand Dollars and collected a premium from Mr. Zoppo based upon that amount of value.Homestead tried to argue unsuccessfully to the jury, however, Mr. Zoppo purchased the bar foronly Ten Thousand Dollars six months prior to the fire. The jury also heard evidence Homesteadhad in its file an underwriting report which valued the building at a market value of Ninety-FiveThousand Seven Hundred Ninety-Eight Dollars!-9-

One of the first lessons to be learned from the Zoppo case is arguments involving overinsurance of a structure can be very difficult to win. Key arguments which always have greatappeal to a jury are the fact the insurance carrier agreed to the amount stated in the policy andcharged the insured the premium based upon that amount. Although there may be cases whereover-insurance of a property is a crucial, and determinative, issue in the case, one of the keylessons to learn from the Zoppo decision is these type of arguments generally have very little juryappeal.Although Homestead claimed Mr. Zoppo had a financial motive for causing the fire, theevidence presented at the trial also showed Mr. Zoppo actually expended quite a bit of moneymaking improvements to the bar prior to the fire. Mr. Zoppo’s attorney was able to successfullyargue to the jury prior to him being denied coverage by Homestead, Mr. Zoppo actually objectedto the decision of his insurance carrier to demolish the building as a total loss as he wanted torebuild on the site and continue the business as a bar and restaurant. The cumulative affect ofthis evidence led the jury to believe Mr. Zoppo did not have a financial motive to have burnedthe business.The real problem Homestead created for itself, however, was the lack of focus in theinvestigation on any potential suspect other than Mr. Zoppo.From the initial reporting of the claim, Mr. Zoppo told Homestead he was hunting inPennsylvania at the time the fire occurred. The evidence showed, however, Homestead neverfollowed up to verify Mr. Zoppo’s whereabouts, and never presented any evidence of Mr. Zopponot being in Pennsylvania or retaining any third party to set the fire on his behalf. In short,Homestead was not able to provide any evidence at the trial to contradict Mr. Zoppo’s alibi.-10-

Perhaps the most damaging evidence to Homestead’s denial was the fact severalindividuals who had previously been ousted from the bar by Mr. Zoppo only weeks prior to thefire had threatened to burn down the bar. Compounding matters further was the fact there was aprevious attempt to actually set the bar on fire, which resulted in only very minor damage.Two of the men Mr. Zoppo had thrown out of the bar bragged after the first fire, andbefore the second fire, they were responsible for the attempted fire and one witness even testifiedone of the two individuals thrown out of the bar stated “he would be back to finish the job.”Additional evidence was presented at the trial that after the second fire, one of the men oustedfrom the bar by Mr. Zoppo told a group of patrons at another bar he was responsible for havingset the fire which destroyed the Zoppo property.Homestead, at trial, presented no evidence to refute any of this information and, in fact,their investigator conceded the primary focus of the investigation from the start was centeredupon Mr. Zoppo solely. One of the most crucial lessons to learn from this aspect of the case isall evidence must be considered and all reasonable leads should be pursued.A thoroughinvestigation should not be an attempt to prove the insured was at fault, but instead to exoneratethe insured. These are crucial aspects of any investigation which, at least according to theevidence presented at trial, Homestead failed to follow in the Zoppo case.Finally, Homestead also overlooked the fact from the evidence at the fire scene itappeared prior to the fire being set there had been a robbery and clear evidence of forced entryinto the building. Although in and of itself such findings may not fully exonerate the insuredfrom playing a role in the loss, apparently Homestead failed to take this evidence into account inany respect, and ultimately this evidence was crucial to the jury in deciding either a random-11-

criminal act occurred, or the individuals who had been previously thrown out of the bar returnedand set the fire as they threatened to do.Although it is always fraught with peril to be critical of an investigation in which you arenot involved, based upon the reviews which have been written about the Zoppo investigationsince this case was decided by the Ohio Supreme Court, it does appear Homestead made ratherserious errors in focusing the investigation upon Mr. Zoppo and refusing to consider evidencewhich not only may well have exonerated Mr. Zoppo, but could reasonably have led them toconclude, and even identify, the specific individuals responsible for the arson fire.The lesson to learn from the Zoppo case is the standard to be utilized in claimsinvestigations and to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the claim, considering allof the evidence in the totality of the investigation. Put simply, the goal of any insuranceinvestigation should be to reach the correct decision regarding the claim whether that decisionmeans the claim is paid or denied.B.Wagner.In contrast to the Zoppo case, the Wagner loss presents a much different set of facts. InWagner, the husband and wife owned a grocery store. On the evening of August 27, 1991,Mr. Wagner waited until all of the other employees left the store and then decided to spray twocans of insecticide throughout the property. After finishing doing this he set the store alarm,locked the door, and within 10 minutes the fire alarm was received. In fact, Mr. Wagner had noteven reached his home when the fire was reported.The initial investigation of the fire was done by the local Fostoria Fire Department andthe cause was listed as undetermined. Within a month, Midwestern Indemnity investigated the-12-

fire and concluded it was incendiary. After receipt of the origin and cause report secured by theinsurance company, the local Fostoria Fire Department reclassified the fire as an arson.What is crucial in this phase of the analysis of the facts of the Wagner claim, is byNovember 1991, Mr. Wagner filed his proof of loss well within the time period specified withinthe policy. The decision, however, by Midwestern Indemnity to deny the claim did not comeuntil nine and one-half months later.At trial of the case, the jury awarded Mr. Wagner Five Hundred Thousand Dollars forbreach of contract and One Million Dollars for bad faith. The jury also awarded Mrs. WagnerFive Hundred Thousand Dollars for breach of contract and Three Hundred Thousand Dollars forbad faith. In addition to these substantial awards, the jury awarded Mr. and Mrs. Wagnerpunitive damages in the amount of Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars and also awarded theWagners attorneys’ fees and pre-judgment interest.There is one bright spot in the decision issued by the Ohio Supreme Court in Wagner forthe insurance industry. As you will note from the above jury award, separate awards for breachof contract were awarded to Mr. and Mrs. Wagner. Although Midwestern did not prevail on theissue of establishing Mr. Wagner had intentionally set the fire, the Ohio Supreme Court didreview the issue of the innocent spouse rule under Ohio law in determining whetherMrs. Wagner had any entitlement to coverage under the policy if it were found her husbandintentionally set the fire.The Ohio Supreme Court in Wagner stated the following regarding the innocent spouserule:Traditionally, older cases automatically denied an innocent spouse the right torecover under an insurance policy if the other spouse had committed-13-

misconduct . However, modern cases have properly rejected this reasoning andinstead have adopted an approach based on contract principles to determinewhether the parties intended joint or several coverage.Wagner, supra, at 291After analyzing the wording in the Midwestern Indemnity policy, the Ohio SupremeCourt majority went on to state:We find that the contract language clearly and ambiguously contemplated Ruthand Verlin Wagner were jointly covered under the insurance policy and,therefore, she was not entitled to a separate recovery . Accordingly, we affirmthe judgment of the court of appeals and hold that Ruth Wagner was not entitledto a directed verdict as an innocent spouse.Wagner, supra, at 291.In many respects, the real import of the Wagner decision, since it did not set forth anynew legal standard differing from the Zoppo case, rests in the Court’s ruling regarding theinnocent spouse rule and how it is applied by Ohio courts. This is still good law in Ohio, and theissue of whether, or not, an innocent spouse is owed under the policy is now derived clearly fromthe wording of the policy language.Unfortunately, however, the Ohio Supreme Court was not nearly so clear, nor favorable,in addressing whether, or not, Midwestern Indemnity did have reasonable justification (theZoppo standard) for denying Mr. Wagner’s claim. In the majority opinion, the Court noted thefollowing relative to the evidence of bad faith:Clearly, the record in this case demonstrates the Wagners presented sufficientevidence to create a jury question on the issue of bad faith. For instance, the-14-

evidence reveals that Mr. Wagner was cooperative and candid during theinvestigation of the claim, and there is no evidence that he was ever officiallyquestioned or charged with arson. There was also expert testimony from whichthe jury could conclude that the fire could have been accidentally caused by anelectrical spark that ignited the insecticide vapor.Finally, the jury couldreasonably have found bad faith from the fact Midwestern waited nearly a fullyear after its physical investigation had been completed before refusing the claim.Wagner, supra, at 294.Although I personally do agree with the Ohio Supreme Court regarding the delay of nineand one-half months being in all probability unreasonable to deny the claim, I do take graveexception with the Court setting forth in any decision from the Ohio Supreme Court the merefact an insured appeared to be cooperative and candid, or was not officially charged with arson,is sufficient to establish there is no reasonable justification to deny the claim! Furthermore, themere fact two experts may disagree regarding the cause of the fire should also not be a sufficientbasis for an insurer to be found liable for bad faith in the claim investigation process. This isespecially true where, in most situations, the insured will not even have an origin and causeexpert until litigation is filed after the claim has been denied.Of great concern to any insurance carrier should be the very cavalier way the majority ofthe Ohio Supreme Court in Wagner ignored their own ruling in Zoppo concerning therequirement of the plaintiff to bring forth evidence to support the bad faith claim by showing theinsurance carrier lacked reasonable justification for the denial decision.Not surprisingly, there was a vigorous dissent written in the Wagner decision by thenJustice Cook which was joined in by Chief Justice Moyer and Justice Stratton. Although these-15-

justices formed only a minority opinion of the Court at that time, consider the followingun-refuted evidence before the Court and then decide whether Midwestern had reasonablejustification to deny the Wagners’ claim:At trial, Midwestern provided evidence that at the time it rejected the claim it wasin possession of information tending to demonstrate that the fire at the Wagners’store had been set deliberately, and that Mr. Wagner possessed both the meansand the motive to set the fire. Two separate report--one by an independentconsulting firm and another by the Fostoria Fire Department--stated that the firehad been incendiary in nature. There were no signs of a forced entry into thestore. And, by his own account, Mr. Wagner locked the store up only minutesbefore the fire alarm sounded.Furthermore, Mr. Wagner had serious financial difficulties. He had filed forbankruptcy, failed to pay payroll taxes for the previous year, and owed over OneHundred Thousand Dollars in federal income taxes. Moreover, sales had beendeclining steadily at the Wagners’ store over the last five years and, over the lasttwo to three years, the Wagners had unsuccessfully attempted to sell theirbusiness.Finally, Mr. Wagner twice misrepresented to a Midwestern investigator that hewas current on this bills and denied that he was involved in a civil action despitehis pending bankruptcy petition. The Wagners’ expert opined that the fire was caused accidentally and that thesource of ignition was an electrical spark that reacted with bug spray vapors tocause an explosion. He also testified, however, that his theory of causation-16-

involved a rare phenomenon that is not generally known in fire departmentcircles.Wagner, supra, at 296 and 297.I can see no basis under Ohio law where, using the reasonable justification standard,Midwestern Indemnity did not have reasonable justification to deny the Wagners’ claim.Nevertheless, this argument fell on deaf ears with the then majority of the Ohio Supreme Courtwhich ostensibly was the same Court which had annunciated the reasonable justification standardin Zoppo and affirmed that standard again in the Wagner decision. Fortunately, the compositionof the Ohio Supreme Court has changed dramatically since the Wagner decision in 1998, and Ibelieve it is safe to say the majority of the courts in the State of Ohio, when applying the Zoppoand Wagner standards, would view the totality of the evidence presented in the Wagner case assufficient for granting of a summary judgment in favor of the insurance carrier on the bad faithclaims as presented.I cannot stress enough, however, the importance of the issue of delay in the claimdecision process in the Wagner case and in cases continuing to this day. Ohio law does notdiffer from virtually any other state which requires the insurance carrier to conduct a complete,thorough, independent, and timely investigation of the claim. Unless you can document wherethe delay is due solely to the lack of action, or refusal to assist in the investigation, by theinsured, claims investigations must move forward promptly and a final decision made to reject orpay the claim. You should strive to make a decision no more than six months from the date ofthe loss occurring.-17-

VI.PERHAPS THE WORST DECISION IN THE OHIO SUPREME COURT’SENTIRE HISTORY!Although following Zoppo and Wagner the Ohio Supreme Court has not issued any newmajor pronouncements on the legal standards for bad faith, this does not mean the Court hasbeen entirely silent on the issue of bad faith litigation.In Boone v. Vanliner Ins. Co., 91 Ohio St. 3d 209, the Ohio Supreme Court singled outinsurance companies and denied insurance carriers the right to the privilege of attorney/clientconfidentiality of communications, which is literally enjoyed by virtually every other businessentity and individual in this state. In announcing its decision, the then majority of the OhioSupreme Court stated in the syllabus opinion as follows:In an action alleging bad faith denial of insurance coverage, the insured ttorney/clientcommunications related to the issue of coverage that were created prior to thedenial of coverage.This unfortunate decision opened the floodgate for disgruntled insureds to simply allegebad faith (with no requirement for any underlying proof) and then request all communicationsbetween the insurance carrier and its legal counsel prior to the date of denial of the claim. Thereis no precedent in Ohio law for any type of similar discovery of attorney/client communicationsabsent evidence showing criminal fraud being present, and even in those cases the party seekingdiscovery of the materials must bring forth some evidence to show prima facie evidence of fraudexists before the attorney/client privilege can be violated. The Ohio Supreme Court saw fit todeny such protections to insurance co

Motorist Mutual Insurance Company, 174 Ohio St. 148, the Ohio Supreme Court once again adopted the reasonable justification standard. For 21 years, the Ohio Supreme Court again left the area of bad faith insurance law alone. In 1983, in Hoskins v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, 6 Ohio St. 3d 272, the Ohio Supreme