United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
GARRICK CALANDRO, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF GENEVIEVE CALANDRO, Plaintiff,
SEDGWICK CLAIMS MANAGEMENT SERVICES, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
B. Saris Chief United States District Judge
Garrick Calandro, as administrator of the estate of Genevieve
Calandro, alleges that Sedgwick Claims Management Systems,
Inc. (“Sedgwick”) violated Massachusetts General
Laws Chapter 176D (“Chapter 176D”) and
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A (“Chapter
93A”) by failing to make any kind of reasonable attempt
both pre-judgment and post-judgment to settle the negligence
and wrongful death case involving his mother who died at a
nursing home. Defendant Sedgwick has moved for summary
judgment on the ground that it did make a prompt, fair, and
equitable settlement offer within the “safe
harbor” provided by Chapter 93A. After hearing,
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 65)
facts below are interpreted in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party and are undisputed except where stated.
August 12, 2011, Plaintiff filed a wrongful death action
against the Radius Group (“Radius”) alleging that
his 92 year-old mother's death was caused by negligence
on August 16, 2008 at a nursing home. Radius, the nursing
home operator, was under a liability insurance policy issued
by Pacific Insurance Company. The policy is an occurrence
policy in the amount of $1 million covering the period from
June 1, 2008 to June 1, 2009. Pacific Insurance Company is a
member of the Hartford Insurance Group
engaged Sedgwick to be a third party administrator
(“TPA”) for the underlying wrongful death case.
As a TPA, Sedgwick was authorized to handle claims under
Hartford's policies and provide claims adjusting and
administrative services. Mary Blair was Sedgwick's claim
handler and supervisor for the underlying wrongful death
claim. Ms. Blair's settlement authority was capped by
Hartford at $125, 000. She needed to get authority from
Hartford to settle above that amount.
the case was pending, Plaintiff made the following settlement
1. October 12, 2011: $500, 000;
2. November 12, 2013: $500, 000;
3. March 2014: $1, 000, 000;
4. July 3, 2014: $1, 000, 000.
early July 2014, a co-defendant physician settled with
Plaintiff for $250, 000.
case went to trial. On July 21, 2014 the jury returned a
verdict of $1, 425, 000 in compensatory damages and made a
finding of gross negligence. On July 22, 2014, following
additional testimony, the jury awarded Plaintiff $12, 514,
605 in punitive damages. On July 31, 2014, Hartford offered
to settle for $1 million, Plaintiff rejected this offer. On
August 1, 2014, the Court entered judgment in the amount of
$14, 447, 906.51 including pre-judgment interest and costs.
September 30, 2014, Plaintiff sent a demand letter under
Chapter 93A section 9 to Sedgwick demanding $40 million.
Sedgwick received the letter on October 2, 2014 and responded
to the letter on October 30, 2014 by offering $1, 990, 197.
This offer represented the $1, 425, 000 compensatory award,
prejudgment interest entered in the amount of $504, 966,
post-judgment interest through November 1, 2014 of $58, 375
on the compensatory award, and the costs awarded to Plaintiff
of $1, 856. Plaintiff rejected this offer and filed this suit
on December 5, 2014. In November of 2014, Hartford settled
with Plaintiff for $16 million, reflecting the $1 million
policy limit and an additional $15 million. Of the total, $1,