West Virginia Record

Monday, February 24, 2020

Trial date set in suit against insurer for house fire claim

By Kyla Asbury | May 2, 2016

Insurance 04

BECKLEY – A trial date has been set in a lawsuit against Lexington Insurance Company for failing to pay a claim in a timely manner.

A jury trial is scheduled for May 1, 2017, at 9 a.m., according to the April 14 scheduling order filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

The final settlement conference is scheduled for April 26, 2017, at 9 a.m. and the pretrial conference is scheduled for April 19, 2017.

Mediation is mandatory and is ordered to be completed at least 30 days prior to the pretrial conference, according to the order.

On July 31, 2014, the home of Rodney Cline and Belinda Cline was involved in a fire and Lexington was the company the couple had their home insured with, according to a complaint filed Oct. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

The Clines claim 15 days after the fire, the insurer performed an inspection of the burned home, appraising the damage

Nearly three months after the fire, on Oct. 23, 2014, the insurer concluded its damage analysis and issued a check to the plaintiffs for $145,520.16, which was approximately 60 percent of the value of the policy, which the plaintiffs disagreed with, according to the suit.

The Clines claim on Nov. 18, 2014, they were forced to retain counsel and on June 8, through counsel, reiterated a policy limits demand of $237,464 to settle the contract claim on the burned realty.

The insurer agreed to compromise the contract claim, limited to the structure damage, by paying substantially all of the structure policy limits demanded in the amount of $230,000 and the plaintiffs reluctantly accepted the compromise below the policy limits to expedite payment, according to the suit.

The Clines claim they received the $230,000 on the structure 366 days after the fire.

Lexington violated the West Virginia Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act and the West Virginia State Insurance Department Regulations, according to the suit.

The Clines claim the defendant failed to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies; and did not attempt in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability had become reasonably clear.

The Clines are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by L. David Duffield of Duffield, Lovejoy, Stemple & Boggs PLLC.

Lexington is represented by Charity K. Lawrence and Don C.A. Parker of Spilman Thomas & Battle.

The case is assigned to District Judge Irene C. Berger.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 5:15-cv-14345

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Organizations in this Story

Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLCDuffield, Lovejoy, Stemple & Boggs PLLC