Barbara Sloan v. Farmers Insurance Company of Arizona, Farmers Insurance Exchange, and Farmers Group, Inc.
Arizona Court of Appeals | July 13, 2021

JSH attorneys Donald Myles, Lori Voepel, and Ashley Villaverde Halvorson have prevailed in three appeals on behalf of their client, Farmers Insurance Company of Arizona, affirming their 2012 defense verdict in a bad faith case.

This case arose in 2009 when Plaintiff’s house burned in a fire and she was criminally charged with arson. The insurer paid the claim in full after the charges were dismissed. Plaintiff alleged the insurer acted in bad faith by initially denying the claim and for withholding its cause and origin report and claim file from her while the claim was investigated and privilege issues were judicially resolved.

In July 2012, following a 22-day trial and four days of deliberation, the jury issued a verdict in favor of the Defense, agreeing the insurer had acted reasonably (click here to read our July 2012 case summary). Plaintiff moved for a new trial, which was denied, and from which she appealed (Appeal 1). The insurer prevailed on a second appeal (Appeal 2), but the case was remanded for additional findings (click here to read our 2018 case summary). On remand, the trial court agreed with the insurer and affirmed the verdict, and Plaintiff appealed (Appeal 3).

On July 13, 2021, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed both the trial court’s 2019 denial of Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 59, and her motion for relief from judgment under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 60(c) (Appeals 1 and 3), thus affirming the defense verdict. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration, which was denied.

Read more about this case by clicking the below links.
July 2012 Case Summary: JSH Attorneys Obtain Defense Verdict for National Insurer in Bad Faith and Punitive Damage Case
June 2013 News Coverage: Arizona’s Civil Verdicts 2012: Significant Defense Verdicts, Published in Arizona Attorney Magazine
August 2018 Case Summary: JSH Attorneys Win on Appeal from New Trial Order Entered Two Years After Defense Verdict

Donald Myles is one of the most experienced trial lawyers in Arizona. He is a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL), Advocate member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Fellow in the American Academy of Coverage Counsel (AACC), Past President of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), Past President of the Arizona Association of Defense Counsel (AADC), and Past President of USLAW Network. In 2019 and 2020, Don was recognized by Chambers USA as a top tier (Band 1) lawyer in Insurance Law. | 602.263.1743 |

Lori Voepel has handled approximately 350 federal and state appeals in virtually every area of the law, including governmental liability, medical and legal malpractice, employment law, civil rights, insurance defense and bad faith, product liability, school law, prison liability, administrative law, commercial law, construction law, airline liability, criminal law, workers’ compensation, and family law. She also assists with critical motions and provides appellate guidance to trial attorneys from the pleading stage through the trial and post-trial stages. | 602.263.7312 |

Ashley Villaverde Halvorson is an accomplished trial attorney who represents insurance companies, corporations/business owners (such as bars, restaurants, retailers, hotels, contractors/trades, transportation companies, and youth organizations), insurance adjusters, insurance agents, and professionals. She is experienced in handling catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims, complex insurance disputes involving breach of contract and bad faith claims, and professional errors and omissions claims. | 602.263.1793 |