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Tatlow, Gump, Faiella, & Wheelan, LLC, of Moberly, Missouri and Co-counsel, Strong-Garner-Bauer, P.C. of Springfield, Missouri Recover 2.5 Times Policy Limits in Bad Faith Claim Against Sentry Select Insurance Company

Trial attorneys Chris Faiella and Sidney Wheelan, of Tatlow, Gump, Faiella & Wheelan, LLC of Moberly, Missouri, along with co-counsel, Strong-Garner-Bauer, P.C. of Springfield, Missouri recovered 2.5 times policy limits for in a bad faith claim against Sentry Select Insurance Company.

The bad faith claim against Sentry Select Insurance Company originated from a collision on U.S. Hwy 54 in Miller County, Missouri, in November of 2004, when a motor grader operated by James Duckworth was rear-ended by a semi-tractor trailer unit. The semi-tractor was owned by James Hosmer and operated by one of his employees, but under a long term lease to another carrier, Cands, Inc.

Because Mr. Duckworth received severe and debilitating injuries as a result of the negligence of the truck driver, the Duckworths initiated a law suit to determine liability and damages. After protracted litigation, the Duckworths eventually reached an agreement to settle their claims against the carrier, Cands, Inc., for the insurance policy limits of $1 million. As part of the settlement, Sentry Select Insurance Co., insisted on obtaining a release for itself, but failed to obtain a release for its other insureds. Sentry failed to advise the owner of the truck, who was also the employer of the truck driver, that it was not protecting his financial interests and was not getting a legal release for his potential liability for the collision.

After months of depositions, summary judgment rulings, and pre-trial motions, the parties reached an agreement to settle the claims of bad faith against the insurance company just one week before trial was scheduled to begin in Federal Court, Western District, in Jefferson City for an additional $1.4 million. The case is Sentry Select Insurance Co. vs. Hosmer, et al, Case No. 2:08-CV-04254-NKL.

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