It's 1988. The Texas Supreme Court, in full populist tilt, creates a new cause of action that workers can assert against workers' compensation carriers: breach of a duty of good faith and fair dealing.
Re-reading the opinion Aranda v. Insurance Co. of North America is like being transported back to a different era. The Aranda court explained that it needed to create a new cause of action because of 1. the disparity of bargaining power between insurers and employees, 2. the exclusive control insurers exercised over the processing of claims, and 3. arbitrary decisions by carriers to refused to pay or delay valid claims, leaving injured workers in a lurch.
Well, this past Friday, populism got KO'd when the 2012 court, by a 5-4 vote, nuked Aranda in Texas Mutual Insurance Co. v. Ruttiger. The Ruttiger court reasoned that Aranda was no longer needed because the Legislature made changes in the workers compensation scheme to expedite claims, get benefits paid more quickly to injured workers, and provide an Office of Injured Employee Counsel to provide counsel and assistance to injured employees.
The legislation thus remedied the above evils, according to the court, and thus Aranda no longer was necessary. As 1988 meets 2012, populism is on the wane, and conservatism is on the upswing.