BECKLEY – A man is suing Wells Fargo Bank after he claims it breached its contract with him by canceling his flood-insurance coverage.
In 2009, Ernest Vandall purchased a house in Rainelle and obtained a mortgage through Wells Fargo, according to a complaint filed May 17 in Greenbrier Circuit Court and removed to federal court on July 6.
Vandall claims Wells Fargo determined that his house was located in a flood zone, which would require him to provide proof of adequate flood insurance coverage, including a receipt for the first year’s premium, before Wells Fargo could close his mortgage.
The plaintiff obtained floor insurance through Nationwide for the value of his home and its contents, according to the suit.
Vandall claims he made his monthly mortgage payment, including an amount representing the premium for his flood-insurance coverage and, on June 23, 2016, Rainelle experienced catastrophic flooding.
In later June 2016, Vandall called the National Flood Insurance Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in order to make a claim for the extensive damage to his house and its contents, according to the suit.
Vandall claims during the call, NFIP informed him that they had no record of flood insurance coverage for him and he then called Wells Fargo, who informed him that his flood insurance had been canceled in 2012 because the flood zone for Vandall’s home had changed and flood-insurance coverage was no longer required.
Wells Fargo alleged it had sent Vandall notification of the cancellation, but Vandall claims he never received any notification, according to the suit.
Vandall claims he later learned from NFIP that he had not had flood-insurance coverage since 2010.
Wells Fargo charged Vandall for the cost of flood insurance from the point he had obtained his mortgage in 2009 through 2016, according to the suit.
Vandall claims he did not have any other insurance coverage for the damage to his house and its contents caused by the flooding.
Wells Fargo was negligent and breached its contract with Vandall, according to the suit.
Vandall is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Jeffrey V. Mehalic of the Law Offices of Jeffrey V. Mehalic.
Wells Fargo is represented by John C. Lynch and Jason E. Manning of Troutman Sanders LLP.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 5:17-cv-03544