CLARKSBURG - Two Preston County residents are suing their previous insurance company after they were sued.

Robert Desantis and Dixie Desantis filed a lawsuit on Oct. 4 in the Circuit Court of Monongalia County against Safeco Insurance Co. of America, citing breach of contract and unfair claims settlement practice. The case has since been removed to federal court.

The plaintiffs state they had an insurance policy with the defendant from June 6, 2011, through June 6, 2012. The policy included defending claims that were brought against the plaintiffs for an occurrence to which the policy covered and providing liability coverage for contracts, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs state that on Jan. 14, they were sued over an occurrence in which the insurance policy applied and in February, the plaintiffs' real estate agent, who listed the plaintiffs' property incorrectly, filed a cross-claim against the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs contend Safeco has breached its insurance contract with them by refusing to provide a defense and refusing to pay for expenses arising out of the claim.

The plaintiffs are seeking an undisclosed amount in damages, including punitive damages. They are being represented in the case by attorney Todd Meadows of Gianola Barnum Wigal & London.

The defendant removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia on Nov. 4.

It says complete diversity of citizenship exists between the plaintiffs and Safeco and that the potential judgment in the suit exceeds $75,000, a threshold for federal jurisdiction.

Circuit Court of Monongalia County Civil Action No. 13-c-776
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Case No. 1:13-cv-245

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