WHEELING – A couple is suing Liberty Mutual Insurance Company for acting in bad faith and violating a state act regarding unfair practices.

On April 17, 2016, at the residence of Robert Orum and Connie Orum, a fire occurred while they were out of town on a scheduled family vacation, according to a complaint filed Aug. 3 in Ohio Circuit Court and removed to federal court on Sept. 11.

The Orums claim as a direct and proximate result of the severe and substantial fire, the plaintiffs were caused to sustain a total loss of their home, personal property items, belongings, items of sentimental value and other injuries, damages and losses.

The plaintiffs reported the fire and destruction of their home on April 18, 2016, to Liberty and Liberty wrongfully and repeatedly investigated the plaintiffs for arson of the home, despite the fire starting from a nearby power line and/or transformer, which the plaintiffs had absolutely no control over, according to the suit.

The Orums claim Liberty had multiple opportunities to pay their claim and, instead, wrongfully denied the claim on May 1.

Based on Liberty’s refusal and failure to timely settle the Orums’ claim, the plaintiffs were required to employ the services of an attorney to file this lawsuit and to endure the costs and expenses, according to the suit.

The Orums claim Liberty’s actions are a violation of the West Virginia Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act and Insurance Regulations; and their actions were in bad faith.

The Orums are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Ronald W. Zavolta and Jordan M. Laird of Zavolta Law Office.

Liberty is represented by William M. Harter and Alex J. Zurbuch of Frost Brown Todd.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 5:17-cv-00142

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