Lawsuit over 1996 car crash leads to $18 million award

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 13, 2014 10:23 PM

(Reading) -- An insurance company is contesting a ruling that it pay $18 million in punitive damages after a long court battle over faulty repairs to a Berks County family's vehicle in 1996.

Nationwide has asked the judge to reconsider a decision believed to be the largest punitive award ever handed down in Pennsylvania in a lawsuit accusing an insurer of bad faith.

Berks County Judge Jeffrey Sprecher's ruling in June said Nationwide spent $3 million to defend its actions in a claim over Sherri Berg's Jeep that it should have replaced for $25,000.

Instead, Nationwide had the Jeep repaired for half that amount, although those repairs were faulty and the vehicle was later found to be unsafe.

Nationwide says the company didn't act in bad faith. Berg, of suburban Reading, died in April.

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