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January 8, 2002 - Insurance Company Ordered to Pay over $ 3 Million to Pennsylvania Woman

A Pennsylvania woman on Monday was awarded more than $ 3 million after a judge determined her insurance company did not properly represent her after a 1992 car collision.

Jean Hollock was awarded the damages from Erie Insurance Exchange after a non-jury trial before Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. in December. She filed the suit in 1999, claiming Erie acted in "bad faith" throughout events after a 1992 wreck which caused her to lose 75 percent of the use in her right arm, her dominant extremity. The injury caused her to suffer a significant wage loss. In one.phpect, the suit claimed Hollock paid for her coverage and should have been able to recover the proper amount due to her. Attorney Pat Dougherty, who previously represented Hollock in some of the suit, said the suit also claimed the insurance company violated a number of internal policies and state statutes.

He said the insurance company was supposed to promptly investigate and evaluate the case and promptly make an offer to Hollock. They didn't, he said. "You can't just stonewall," he said. "Instead of treating their insured in good faith, they treated her in bad faith." Court papers state Hollock was injured on June 8, 1992, when her vehicle was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Dominick DiGennari. Hollock previously was awarded $ 80,000 in damages for the collision, court papers say. Timothy Lenahan, who handled the majority of the bad faith claim, could not be reached for comment late Monday afternoon.

Olszewski issued the verdict Monday. The verdict of nearly $ 3.1 million is to be dispersed as follows: $ 17,450 to attorney John D. Nardone for fees and costs; $ 7,550 to Dougherty for fees and costs; $ 173,745 to the law firm of Lenahan & Dempsey P.C. for fees and costs; $ 2.8 million to Hollock for punitive damages; and $ 80,000 in interest.

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