Dean E. Stipp v. MetLife Auto and Home Insurance Agency Inc., et al.,

(Client: Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co.)

A win by the Firm was featured in the March 13th edition of Mealey’s Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith. The commentary discusses the ruling of a Louisiana appeals panel in Stipp v. MetLife Auto. Barrasso Usdin partners Partners H. Minor Pipes, III and Kristin Beckman represented MetLife. The panel affirmed dismissal of Stipp’s breach of contract and bad faith claims, finding that Stipp failed to meet his evidentiary burden. 

In Stipp v. MetLife, Dean Stipp had purchased auto insurance through Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co. Approximately six months after purchasing his insurance he was involved in an auto accident. Stipp took his car to the repair shop and MetLife paid the fees of $33,979 for the repairs. Stipp later claimed that the car had not been fully repaired and insisted the car should be declared a total loss. Stipp argued that his policy should provide the actual cash value for the car, and that MetLife was breaching the contract by failing to pay. MetLife moved for summary judgment arguing that the policy gave the insurer the option to pay the lesser amount between repairing the vehicle and paying the actual cash value replacement cost. The District Court granted MetLife’s motion and Stipp appealed to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling finding that Stipp did not provide evidence of either the car being declared a total loss or MetLife failing to pay for the car’s damages. The commentator, Thomas Segalla, in summary, noted “Bald conclusory allegations, unsupported by evidence in admissible form, are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” 

Dean E. Stipp v. MetLife Auto and Home Insurance Agency Inc., et al., No. 13-CA-507, La. App., 5th Cir.; 2013 La. App. LEXIS 2788