Jackson v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co
In Jackson v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 215 W.Va. 634, 600 S.E.2d 346 (2004), the Court recently analyzed several portions of the UTPA that utilized language requiring an assessment of whether an insurance company's conduct was "reasonable."
For instance, the Court concluded at Syllabus Point 2 of Jackson that:
"Liability is "reasonably clear," as stated in W. Va. Code, 33-11-4(9)(f) 2002, when a reasonable person, with knowledge of the relevant facts and law, would conclude, for good reason, that the defendant is liable to the plaintiff."
The Court went on in Syllabus Point 3 of Jackson to conclude that the reasonableness of an insurance company's conduct "ordinarily is a question of fact for the jury" that should not be determined as a matter of law by a trial court.
The Court stated, in Syllabus Point 3 of Jackson, that:
"Whether an insurer refused to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation based on all available information under W. Va. Code, 33-11-4(9)(d) 2002, and whether liability is reasonably clear under W. Va. Code, 33-11-4(9)(f) 2002 ordinarily are questions of fact for the jury."