A Brown County jury returned a $245,000 verdict for our client, an Aberdeen small businessman, against his insurance company, American Family Mutual Insurance Company. Three and a half years earlier, a customer was injured by an employee at the businessman’s convenience store, and American Family refused to assist its insured. He was eventually sued and forced to hire his own attorney to handle the lawsuit. After settling the victim’s suit, he sued American Family for abandoning him.
The jury found that American Family breached the insurance contract, committed fraud, and acted in bad faith towards its insured. Punitive damages were also awarded to make an example of the company. American Family appealed the verdict, and the South Dakota Supreme Court decision is referenced above.