Shumpert v. Time Insurance Co.

329 S.C. 605, 496 S.E.2d 653 (1998)

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Shumpert v. Time Insurance Co.

South Carolina Court of Appeals
329 S.C. 605, 496 S.E.2d 653 (1998)

  • Written by Sheryl McGrath, JD

Facts

Time Insurance Co. (Time) (defendant) issued a health-insurance contract to Richard Shumpert. The insurance contract had no subrogation clause. While the policy was in effect, Shumpert was in an automobile crash that left him with serious personal injuries. Another driver caused the crash. Time paid about $18,800 toward Shumpert’s medical bills. Shumpert and his family (collectively, the Shumperts) (plaintiffs) hired an attorney and sued the driver that was at fault in the crash. Time’s attorney informed the Shumperts in writing that Time had a subrogation right. A legal assistant from the Shumperts’ attorney’s law firm then wrote to Time and stated that the subrogation right would be honored. A couple of months later, the attorney representing the Shumperts requested that Time provide support for the assertion of the subrogation right. Time indicated that the right arose from equitable-subrogation law. The Shumperts’ lawsuit against the at-fault driver was settled a few years later for $75,000. The Shumperts filed a declaratory-judgment action against Time, seeking a ruling that Time had no subrogation right. The Shumperts also asserted a bad-faith claim against Time. Time filed counterclaims for a declaratory judgment on the subrogation right and for bad faith against the Shumperts. Both parties filed summary-judgment motions. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Time on the subrogation claim and denied both parties’ bad-faith claims. The Shumperts appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Anderson, J.)

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