Crisci v. Security Insurance Co.: The Dawn of The Modern Era of Insurance: Bad Faith and Emotional Distress Damages

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Crisci v. Security Insurance Co. typifies the doctrine of "bad faith," one of the most interesting and important contributions of insurance law to the general body of law. It "typifies" the doctrine with its classic, if somewhat extreme, fact pattern, and with its reliance on the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing for the recognition of a cause of action that sounds in tort. Yet it also represents a potential for bad faith law that has not yet been fulfilled: the promise of emotional distress damages for an insurer's failure to settle.

This article explores both what Crisci has contributed and what it may still contribute. It begins with a brief overview of the case itself, followed by an analysis of its historical contribution to bad faith law generally. It then turns to the issue of emotional distress to describe how courts have responded to Crisci on that issue, and to make a normative argument that emotional distress damages should be routinely available in bad faith cases.

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Nevada Law Journal