$25.5 Millon Verdict Against Aetna in Bad Faith Insurance Case
Last week an Oklahoma jury returned a verdict against the health insurance company Aetna and in favor of a widower whose wife had lost her battle against cancer. After being diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in 2014, Orrana Cunningham's doctors recommended that she receive proton beam therapy, a form of radiation therapy that would target the area of her stage 4 cancer near the brain stem. Aetna denied the coverage, and Mrs. Cunningham died from the cancer in 2015. Before she passed, she and her husband, Ron Cunningham, brought the lawsuit against Aetna, alleging bad faith in denying coverage for the treatment, which the company claimed was merely experimental. The jury found that Aetna's conduct was reckless and that, under its policy with the Cunninghams, it should have covered the treatment. The verdict is believed to be the largest bad faith award in Oklahoma history.