Rose and deJong, S.C., Milwaukee-Based Law Firm, Secures $8 Million Verdict in Bad Faith Insurance Case

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Rose and deJong, S.C., a Milwaukee-based law firm has secured for its client, Park Terrace, the largest bad faith insurance verdict in Wisconsin history. At over $8 million, the verdict stands as a message that corporate greed on the part of insurance companies will no longer be tolerated. Park Terrace suffered a fire during construction of some condominium units and CNA failed to provide coverage and payment pursuant to the loss of income endorsement to the builder's risk policy.

Rose & deJong is a Milwaukee-based law firm, handling corporate matters and litigation.

"Hopefully this will send a message to CNA senior executives in their ivory towers that the company must start treating its policyholders properly. " - Douglas Rose, Partner, Rose & deJong, S.C.

Rose and deJong, S.C., a Milwaukee-based law firm, announced today that it won a bad faith insurance case on behalf of its client, Park Terrace, LLC., a local development company. A Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury awarded $8,370,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to Park Terrace. The defendant was Transportation Insurance Company, part of the CNA insurance companies. This verdict is believed to be the largest bad faith insurance verdict issued in the state of Wisconsin.

“Hopefully this will send a message to CNA senior executives in their ivory towers that the company must start treating its policyholders properly. CNA’s conduct revealed inherent, systemic greed that should scare its customers to the core,” said Douglas Rose, partner at Rose and deJong, and lead attorney on the case.

The case stemmed from a claim made by Park Terrace under an insurance policy that was underwritten by Transportation Insurance Company. The claim arose after a large fire occurred during construction condominiums in the Park Terrace development. While CNA paid the property damage portion of the claim, it failed to provide coverage and payment pursuant to the loss of income endorsement to the builder’s risk policy that was in place at the time of the fire.

Bad faith insurance cases occur when the insured attempt to make claims on a policy, but the insurance company acts as though the policy was not issued or invalid, or otherwise failes to consider the insured’s claim without a reasonable basis for doing so. Since the insured proceeded as if the policy existed, or “in good faith,” the insurance company is seen as acting in “bad faith” when they deny the existence of the policy.

Of the $8,370,000 awarded by the jury, $4,000,000 was punitive damages.

Rose said that bad faith conduct was “systemic” throughout the CNA companies and insurance experts called during the two week trial agreed, testifying that CNA acted in bad faith. In the words of one expert, CNA “took the umbrella to protect the insured and hit them over the head with it.”

Rose was assisted on the case by attorneys Jennifer Geller Baumann and Victor E. Plantinga, both of Rose and deJong, S.C.

The jury deliberated only two hours before reaching its verdict, after Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Pocan had found as a matter of law that CNA had improperly reformed the policy to eliminate the loss of income endorsement. The case was Park Terrace v. Transporation (CNA), Milwaukee County Circuit Court Case #07-CV-12848.

Kelly Denk, one of the principals of Park Terrace, reacted to the verdict “Dealing with CNA was painful and exhausting, like hitting your head against a brick wall. This was undeniably one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. We at Park Terrace are so pleased that this Milwaukee County jury was attentive and strong enough to get to the truth, and we are so thankful for that.”

Rose and deJong is a Milwaukee-based law firm that specializes in business and corporate transaction matters, as well as the full range of litigation. The firm was founded in 1992 and now employs 10 attorneys.

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