Phoenix-Yuma Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Defense Attorneys

Arizona Laws Governing Insurance Bad Faith

Arizona’s aggressive bad faith laws flow from the premise that consumer insurance policies are considered contracts of adhesion with boilerplate terms which are not understood by the ordinary consumer. Because of this, insurance policies are to be construed according to their plain and ordinary meaning, but from the viewpoint of one not trained in law.

One of the more sweeping unusual bad faith principles developed by Arizona courts is the “doctrine of reasonable expectations” which holds that although not ambiguous to the court, an insured may be relieved from certain provisions, which had not been negotiated because it is contrary to their reasonable expectations of what would be covered.

There is also the frequent use of what are called Morris and Damron agreements that involve stipulated judgments for large sums of money.

Where an insurer defends under a reservation of rights, an insured may enter into an agreement with the plaintiff whereby the defendant/insured stipulates to the entry of a judgment in exchange for an agreement not to execute on that judgment and an assignment of any claims against the insurer. This is valid as long as the insurer is given notice of the proposed stipulated judgment and the resulting judgment is reasonable.

When an insurer refuses to defend, the insured may enter into a Damron agreement under which the insured stipulates to a judgment, assigns his rights against the insurer to the claimant, and receives in return a covenant from the claimant not to execute against the insured. The stipulated judgment is enforceable as long as there is coverage under the policy and there is no fraud or collusion involved in entering into the agreement.

Successful Outcomes for Insurers

Schneider & Onofry attorneys have tried numerous insurance coverage and bad faith cases to a successful conclusion, concerning issues involving:

  • first- and third-party insurance claims, including Damron and Peaton issues
  • scope of insurance coverage
  • defense obligations
  • improper handling of claims and litigation
  • failure to settle

Insurers value our expertise in addressing initial defenses and coverage determinations raised by claims related to defenses under reservations of rights.

We also have substantial experience when judgments have been entered against insureds after default and stipulated judgments.
In addition, our attorneys regularly advise clients on questions of coverage and duties owed under insurance policies.

Competitive Advantages in Yuma Insurance Litigation

Schneider & Onofry is committed to serving carriers with claims in Yuma County. Since 2009, we have been the only insurance defense firm with an established office and active day-to-day practice in Yuma. We welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss how we might help you succeed in Yuma County’s unique legal, business and cultural environment.

Why You Want Defense Counsel With Yuma Experience

Yuma is a border town with unique characteristics. It has very much a small-town feel, although the county has doubled in size within the last 20 years and now has an effective population of over 200,000. The community’s economy is anchored by highly sophisticated agricultural and distribution industries and the presence of a U.S. Marine Corps air station. The area’s economic sectors and ethnic and socioeconomic diversity are reflected in each jury panel assembled in superior court.

Benefits of Using Schneider & Onofry in Yuma

Most defense firms leverage their work by having associates handle the day-to-day activities, with the partner mostly supervising. That is not the case with Schneider & Onofry. In Yuma, your claim will be handled directly by either Jon Schneider or Chuck Onofry, both of whom have substantial experience. They continue to handle claims from start to finish, meaning they are steeped in all aspects of investigation, discovery, motion practice, trials, post-trial motions, and any appeal.
Other unique benefits of using Schneider & Onofry in Yuma include:

  • the only established defense firm in Yuma
  • fully staffed office with videoconference capability
  • no travel time expense (Phoenix-Yuma round trip is six hours)
  • bilingual attorneys
  • familiarity with Yuma attorneys
  • trial experience before all Yuma County judges
  • familiar with IME doctors in Yuma County
  • jury selection is enhanced by our involvement in and familiarity with the Yuma community and its unique characteristics