N.J. Law Journal reports:
Bad-faith actions against insurers are essentially contract claims, and so a right to a jury trial exists, a unanimous state Supreme Court held on Tuesday.
That does not mean, however, that every such claim must go to a jury.
- Unless a jury trial is requested at the start, the right is waived, and;
- Even when it is requested, the parties can agree later to forgo a jury that a bench trial would be more appropriate, the Court said in Wood v. New Jersey Manufacturers Ins. Co., A-44-10
The 6-0 ruling resolves a question not addressed in the 37 years since the Court, in Rova Farms Resort Inc. v. Investors Ins. Co. of America, 65 N.J. 474 (1974), first recognized a right of recovery against a liability carrier that refuses in bad faith to settle claims within policy limits.
One of the all-time terrific jury deliberations