CHARLESTON – A woman is suing Nationwide General Insurance Company after she claims it breached its contract with her.
On March 14, there was a fire at property owned by Linda Blevins that damaged the property, according to a complaint filed June 19 in Logan Circuit Court and removed to federal court on July 24.
Blevins claims Nationwide insured the property and the policy was in full force and effect on the day of the fire.
After the fire, Nationwide issued a reservation of rights letter to the plaintiff, asserting that coverage may not apply because the property had not been owner-occupied for eight years and that a medium petroleum distillate was detected in the samples and that her policy specifically excluded increased hazards and intentional acts, according to the suit.
Blevins claims Nationwide has no evidence that the plaintiff contributed to an increased hazard, nor does it have any evidence that she engaged in intentional acts to cause the loss, yet it wrongly continues to refuse to make an offer of settlement to the plaintiff.
Nationwide’s continuing assertion of defenses of increased hazard and intentional acts exclusions constitutes a breach of contract, bad faith and/or fraud on its part and it has caused continuing harm and damage to the plaintiff, for which it is legally responsible, according to the suit.
Blevins claims at the time of application for the insurance policy on Aug. 17, 2015, Nationwide knew that the plaintiff did not occupy the property and that her son and daughter-in-law occupied it, yet it bound coverage and began to collect premium payments on the policy.
The plaintiff was truthful in her application for insurance with Nationwide and had she been told that she could not get insurance because she did not occupy the property, she would have kept her existing insurance on the property and not switched her coverage to Nationwide, according to the suit.
Blevins is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Christopher J. Heavens of Heavens Law Firm.
Nationwide is represented by Ronda L. Harvey and Patrick C. Timony of Bowles Rice.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:17-cv-03692