Builders want insurance money

by John O'Brien |
Oct. 20, 2006, 2:40am

MORGANTOWN - The company that was building four condominiums that were lost in a June fire is suing its insurance company for alleging not paying the full amount of its policy.

Suncrest Village says it is owed more than $6 million by Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Co. in a lawsuit filed Oct. 13 in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Suncrest is also suing its insurance agent, Jay Pallotta. The condos were being built along Highway 705.

"On or about March 9, 2006, Jay Pallotta in fact obtained insurance coverage and thereby bound Erie to the contract with Suncrest, the complaint says. "On June 8, 2006, a fire occurred at the construction site, resulting in the total loss of the structures and the Genie Manlift."

Suncrest says Pallotta assured it that the coverage would be consistent with the value lost, which was $6,014,000.

"Following the fire, Jay Pallotta returned to his office and discovered that his records did not accurately reflect the coverage obtained and agreed to by Suncrest, Jay Pallotta and Erie," the complaint says.

It adds that Pallotta revised his records, and Erie has denied that it is obligated to pay the full value of the policy.

"Because it is liable for the actions, omissions and representations of its agent Jay Pallotta, Erie is obligated to pay full policy proceeds to Suncrest," the complaint says.

Suncrest charges the defendants with breach of contract, violation of Unfair Trade Practices Act, bad faith, negligence and fraud.

The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages for economic losses, annoyance, aggravation, inconvenience, harassment, emotional distress and mental anguish.

Heather Heiskell Jones of Spilman, Thomas and Battle in Morgantown is representing Suncrest.

Judge Russell Clawges has been assigned the case.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 06-C-672

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