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John Craver and Joel Varnell recently obtained a defense verdict in Jefferson County for an insurer in a case where the insured claimed seven figure damages for bad faith claims handling, statutory penalties for delay or denial of insurance benefits owed and breach of contract for failure to provide underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) benefits. The case arose out of a low impact rear end accident from which the plaintiff claimed physical injuries and loss of past and future earnings. The plaintiff claimed that the insurer had improperly denied her underinsured motorist coverage benefits for injuries and damages not compensated by the person who rear-ended her. The trial lasted into three weeks and included testimony from eight expert witnesses and numerous fact witnesses. The jury determined that the plaintiff had been fully compensated by the person who hit her, thus no UIM benefits were owed.

Craver, John
Joel N. Varnell

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Joel Varnell was recently elected to the board of directors of the Action Center in Jefferson County. The Action Center’s mission is to provide an immediate response to basic human needs and promote pathways to self-sufficiency for Jefferson County residents and the homeless. This organization provides food, clothing, shelter and health care to homeless and others in need. This organization has a seven figure budget and serves hundreds of clients in need every month.

John Craver and Joel Varnell obtained summary judgment on a first party statutory delay and bad faith claim in an underinsured motorist case where the Denver District Court found there was no duty to advance payment of the amount offered and that the evidence was undisputed that the insurer continued to evaluate the case and paid the claim even after additional information was provided. The District Court concluded that plaintiff had not offered sufficient evidence of bad faith by the insurance company for a jury’s consideration, and that settlement offers by an insurance company in an underinsured motorist benefits claim case are not admissible as evidence of bad faith.

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Michael Daugherty and Joel Varnell received an order granting the setting aside of a default against the insured; thereafter, they were successful in having the court grant summary judgment. In its order the court agreed that the plaintiff’s complaint was not timely filed and declined to allow the application of C.R.C.P. 15(c), relation back amendment, to the original filing date of the complaint. Plaintiff alleged over $200,000 in medical expenses, future wage loss and a mild TBI.

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