JSH attorneys win appeal nine years after defense verdict in Sloan v. Farmers Insurance Company of Arizona


Jones, Skelton & Hochuli attorneys Donald Myles, Lori Voepel, and Ashley Villaverde Halvorson have prevailed in three appeals on behalf of their client, Farmers Insurance Company of Arizona, affirming their 2012 defense verdict in a bad faith case. (Barbara Sloan v. Farmers Insurance Company of Arizona, Farmers Insurance Exchange, and Farmers Group, Inc., Arizona Court of Appeals | July 13, 2021)

This case arose in 2009 when plaintiff’s house burned in a fire, and she was criminally charged with arson. The insurer paid the claim in full after the charges were dismissed. Plaintiff alleged the insurer acted in bad faith by initially denying the claim and withholding its cause and origin report and claim file from her while the claim was investigated, and privilege issues were judicially resolved.

In July 2012, following a 22-day trial and four days of deliberation, the jury issued a verdict in favor of the defense, agreeing the insurer had acted reasonably (click here to read the July 2012 case summary). Plaintiff moved for a new trial, which was denied, and from which she appealed (Appeal 1). The insurer prevailed on a second appeal (Appeal 2), but the case was remanded for additional findings (click here to read the 2018 case summary). On remand, the trial court agreed with the insurer and affirmed the verdict, and plaintiff appealed (Appeal 3).

On July 13, 2021, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed both the trial court’s 2019 denial of plaintiff’s motion for a new trial under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 59, and her motion for relief from judgment under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 60(c) (Appeals 1 and 3), thus affirming the defense verdict. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration, which was denied.

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