Lynn Allen is the Managing Partner of Tyson & Mendes’ Phoenix office. Ms. Allen is an experienced trial lawyer who represents her clients in a wide variety of complex cases, including insurance coverage disputes, insurance bad faith, defense of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, intellectual property, employment law, and appeals. Ms. Allen has extensive appellate experience in both the Arizona state and federal courts. She has been lead counsel in many successful jury trials, arbitrations, summary judgment motions, and appeals. She is a frequent lecturer on insurance bad faith and coverage issues in Arizona.
Ms. Allen successfully defended an insurance company in a jury trial involving a $1.7 million claim of first party breach of contract and insurance bad faith arising from storm damage to plaintiff’s home. She also obtained summary judgment for her clients in a variety of high profile cases, including a wrongful death lawsuit against a condominium association arising from carbon monoxide poisoning; a claim for bad faith alleging breach of the duty to defend and indemnify against a $1.2 million construction defect claim; a bad faith claim arising from the denial of coverage and alleged breach of duty to defend an insured against a multi-million dollar wrongful death claim, with the court finding no coverage under the illegal consumption of alcohol exclusion; a bad faith claim arising from the denial of coverage for a multi-million dollar excess verdict in a wrongful death claim, with the court finding no coverage based on the physical abuse exclusion; and a bad faith claim arising from a residential theft, with the court finding the insured failed to cooperate and awarded attorneys’ fees to the insurer.
Ms. Allen earned her J.D. cum laude from the Arizona State University College of Law in 1989, where she served as a note and comment editor on the Law Review. She is licensed to practice law in Arizona and is a member of the Maricopa County Bar Association and Arizona Association of Defense Counsel. Ms. Allen is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and has been honored as a Southwest Super Lawyer for Insurance Coverage for 2011-2016.
In her free time, Ms. Allen enjoys spending time with her teenage son and cheering him on during his football games. She also enjoys traveling, especially cruising.
The Arizona appellate courts recently issued two important decisions involving insurance coverage and bad faith. These decisions will impact the Arizona insurance industry and are discussed below.
A recent decision in Division One of the Court of Appeals held plaintiff must prove she would have prevailed in the underlying claim as an essential element of a legal malpractice claim.[i] In Bellemare v. Lemon Law Group Partners, the Court of Appeals set aside the verdict in favor of plaintiff Carol Bellemare and held a plaintiff must prove the case within the case. In other words, she must be able to prove, but for the attorney’s negligence, she would have been successful in the underlying case. To meet this burden in the legal malpractice case, plaintiff must present facts sufficient to prove all the elements of the underlying case.
Claims Magazine – August 2020
In March 2020, the United States came to a screeching halt. Schools closed, businesses shut down and the national economy saw its largest decline in more than a decade. The wave of insurance coverage litigation over COVID-19 losses was inevitable. And as policyholders seek to recoup business-related losses, business interruption claims are becoming the new normal. With insurance companies denying such claims for lack of physical damage or loss to property, bad faith lawsuits are soaring and businesses are suing their insurance companies in increasing numbers.
CLM – May 15, 2020
Lawsuits and Strategies as Businesses Remain Shut Down
Tyson & Mendes Arizona Partner Lynn Allen and associate Arman Nafisi obtained a significant appellate win in Arizona in September. In this case, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of agent Manny DeMiguel on plaintiffs’ claims for damages resulting from DeMiguel’s alleged failure to procedure adequate underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage on plaintiffs’ vehicle.
July 2016 Arizona Case Law Update
A recent decision out of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, held a subcontractor who fails to timely file suit against surety on a payment bond issued under the Little Miller Act may not subsequently sue the surety for bad faith. S&S Paving & Const., Inc. v. Berkley Reg’l Ins. Co., 2016 WL 2756428, (Ariz. Ct. App. May 12, 2016).
Arizona Legislative Update
Bad faith claims can be about more than just whether the insurer handled and evaluated the insured’s claim in a reasonable matter. Increasingly, plaintiffs seek to expand the case to include claims that the insurer’s business practices are designed to reduce claim payouts to benefit the insurer. This approach can result in substantial compensatory and punitive damages. Controlling discovery on these issues is critical to the defense of the insurer. This article will explore typical discovery requests and how to limit discovery responses to those that are relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
Third-Party Bad Faith In a third party claim, a liability insurer generally has three duties—the duty to defend, the duty to indemnify, and the duty to give equal consideration to