Case Caption: Robertson vs. Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, et alCase Number: SCT-CIV-2022-0026Date: 03/24/2023Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2023 VI 3Summary: A Superior Court's summary judgment for defendants in a bank depositor’s case relating to a policy of accidental death insurance is reversed. The Virgin Islands Rules of Civil Procedure do not sanction efforts by trial judges to effect settlement through coercion or pressure tactics, and thus the excessive zeal of the Superior Court to force a settlement in this case, over the plaintiff’s repeated objections, itself constitutes sufficient reason to vacate the summary judgment order. The Superior Court also erred when it dismissed the breach of contract claim based on the defendants’ tender of a $3,000 check to the plaintiff, on the erroneous premise that this amount was sufficient to provide plaintiff with the full relief sought in his complaint. It further erred when it dismissed his tort claims pursuant to the “gist of the action” doctrine – which is inapplicable in the structure of the Virgin Islands judicial system, would provide no practical benefit, would impair the administration of justice by barring plaintiffs from bringing potentially meritorious claims, and is not the soundest rule for the Virgin Islands. The Superior Court also erred in its alternative ground for dismissing the plaintiff’s claims on the theory that his tort punitive damages claims were duplicative of remedies sought in his breach of contract claim. Accordingly, the April 22, 2022 order granting summary judgment is reversed, the April 22, 2022 order denying the plaintiff’s discovery sanctions motion is vacated as moot, and this litigation is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion