Significant Trial Verdicts

Mr. Livingston has over 25 years of trial experience. The following exemplar trial results include significant documentation surrounding verdict forms, key documents when applicable, and other particulars of various trials handled by Samuel G. Livingston, P.C.

Peressini v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company

The attached Verdict Form B was entered on November 10, 2005 which, including attorney's fees and costs, awarded over $3 million to Professor Dominic D. Peressini arising from his involvement in a 2003 motor vehicle accident while insured by American Family. The Rocky Mountain News reported that the verdict "...is believed to be the State's largest bad faith verdict against an auto insurer over lost wages..." At the time the case proceeded to trial in 2007, American Family claimed that it was still investigating Mr. Peressini's claims for lost wages which had neither been affirmed or denied. Evidence presented at trial established that American Family utilized a corporate business plan which was intended to reduce claims payouts by approximately one-third over a four-year period. The 2003 Colorado State Business Plan concocted by American Family attempted to reduce claims payouts to keep those payments in relation to other insurance companies, without taking into account the individual needs of the insured or that American Family was charging roughly one-third more in premiums than the industry averages which it was attempting to track in terms of reducing payouts. The case received considerable attention by way of investigative reports by Channel 7 News which also provided details regarding the cynical nature of American Family's adjusting staff which allowed employees to keep a toy pig with wings on a claim manager's desk with company employees denying claims and joking that payments would be made only "when pigs fly."

Roach v. American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin
(American Family)

Plaintiff Tim Roach rear-ended another vehicle in late 1997, and American Family denied coverage claiming that his insurance policy had lapsed only several days before the accident. In December of 1997, Roach paid $800 of his personal funds for the property damage to the car which he hit and remained subject to future claims for medical bills and/or uninsured motorist subrogation by the insurer of the vehicle which he damaged. The suit was initially brought against American Family to establish coverage for the Roach vehicle and it was later determined that multiple documents had been removed from American Family's claim file during the course of discovery, including the "smoking gun memo" indicating that the company would "lose if the matter goes to court or the insurance commissioner" written before the claim was denied. Evidence at trial also demonstrated that American Family altered records to support its claim that the policy had lapsed. The attached Special Verdict Form B reflects the jury's award of $625,000 in economic damages, $375,000 in non-economic damages for pain and suffering, and $1 million in punitive damages, not including attorney fees, interest and costs. Also attached is a March 20, 2000 Colorado Jury Verdict Reporter surrounding this $2 million verdict arising from an $800 claim denial.

Nadine Petterson v. Allstate Insurance Company

In 2004, Allstate Insurance Company implemented a policy of requesting random searches of medical provider's offices whom Allstate suspected of overbilling. The physician was expected to make his or her office available to camera-carrying Allstate's investigators during normal business hours, with patients present, and also make clinic employees available for interviews without a doctor or other management of the clinic being present. Although Allstate was offered the opportunity to inspect clinics after hours and interview any employee which it desired with appropriate management present, Allstate declined the invitation and thereafter denied the bills of all Allstate insured patients at the clinic, including 80 year old Nadine Petterson who was denied approximately $1,200 in medical care. A Denver District Court jury awarded $1,290 in unpaid treatment charges, $15,000 in unpaid future treatment charges, trebled the past and future charges ($48,870), awarded $50,000 for bad faith damages and $50,000 for punitive damages plus costs and attorney fees for a gross verdict of slightly under $300,000.

Sullivan v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company

Plaintiff Ron Sullivan was involved in a motor vehicle accident in March of 1997 and sued American Family for bad faith stemming from extensive delays in approving medical care, which ultimately involved two separate surgeries. The Livingston Law Firm was retained by attorney Greg Gold to co-counsel the case which involved a three-day trial in the Denver District Court resulting in a verdict on December 11, 2001. The Court's ruling was summarized by a Rocky Mountain News article wherein District Court Judge John Coughlin found that "American Family treated this man for six months in a horrible way and now they have another opportunity to carry out their responsibility, and they absolutely totally failed," Coughlin said, "It's a total disregard for their responsibility...for the feelings and rights of their insureds." The Court's total award exceeded $650,000 with interest and attorney fees.

Barriga v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company

In the matter of Barriga v. American Family, where our firm was retained as co-counsel, the insureds sued over the carrier wrongfully subtracting $7,000 from an appraisal award of over $130,000, although it was revealed during the course of depositions and other discovery that the appraisal process had been manipulated by American Family in retaliation for the insured not using a preferred remediation contractor who worked closely with the insurance company as opposed to providing independent bids. The appraisal process took roughly one year and was delayed by American Family secretly attempting to control who would be the umpire in the case, and directly controlling all activities of its appointed appraiser. Even though the appraisal award of over $130,000 had been paid prior to the case being filed, the jury found that American Family delayed payment of the benefits awarded in arbitration because American Family manipulated the arbitration process, and the insureds were awarded a penalty of over $260,000 under the bad faith statute.

The Court's final judgment also included $200,000 for "common-law" bad-faith damages for pain and suffering, $200,000 in punitive damages, as well as over $400,000 in attorney's fees with a gross $1.2 million awarded against American Family. American Family appealed the decision, and the Court again affirmed that the bad faith statute, C.R.S. 10-3-1115/1116, resulted in a penalty of two times the amount which was delayed as opposed to the insurance company's argument that penalties were half that amount.