In national news:

In a decision dated February 28th, the Oklahoma Supreme Court expanded the ability to bring bad faith claims against workers’ compensation insurance carriers, under certain circumstances. In Meeks v. Guarantee Insurance Company, Tracy Meeks sued Guarantee for bad faith refusal to timely comply with several orders of the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court awarding him temporary total disability benefits. Meeks claimed that the insurer withheld his benefits on 26 separate occasions without cause. Guarantee moved for dismissal, asserting that Meeks failed to obtain a certification order from the Workers’ Compensation Court – a jurisdictional prerequisite for commencing a bad faith action in district court. The District Court granted that motion but the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed it and ruled against the insurer explaining that the procedural hiccups with the certification order hid the “Insurer for Insurer’s crafty gamesmanship.” In a concurring opinion, Judge Gurich called Guarantee’s behavior “appalling” and further wrote that, “the facts of this case are outrageous, and this is exactly the reason why a claimant must have a common law remedy of bad faith.”

Read the entire decision here. Read further coverage via Property Casualty 360 here.

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