MARTINSBURG – A woman is suing Allstate after she claims it breached its contract with her when it denied coverage for water damage in her home.

Cheri Wagar, Michael Guida, Brandy Wilbur and Jane or John Doe were also named as defendants in the suit.

On July 6, 2016, Theresa Hitchcock discovered that her basement was filled with water, causing substantial property damage to the basement, as well as the personal contents in the basement, according to a complaint filed March 19 in Berkeley Circuit Court and removed to federal court on April 25.

Hitchcock claims she discovered that the toilet tank in her basement bathroom had cracked and the water precipitously leaked from the tank onto the floor, filling the basement and she immediately turned off the water to the basement toilet and called Allstate to report the claim.

On July 13, 2016, Wagar arrived to conduct a coverage investigation and evaluate her property damage and quickly assessed that the water-soaked carpet and carpet mad and baseboard electrical heater were ruined, according to the suit.

Hitchcock claims Wagar determined that Allstate would pay only $224.27 for the removal of the debris and remediation of the water damage in the basement, although the cost for such services were greater than that.

Wagar also substantially underestimated the plaintiff’s covered losses as being work only $2,497.42, when her losses were much greater, according to the suit.

Hitchcock claims she then received a check in the amount of $1,637.42, which did not come close to fully compensating the plaintiff under her policy for all of her losses.

The plaintiff received a letter in which she was informed coverage was denied on the basis of several exclusions in her policy, according to the suit.

Hitchcock claims she asked Allstate to have another adjuster evaluate her losses, but she was denied.

In December 2016, Hitchcock paid Ecosystems Environmental Services to give her an assessment of the mold in her basement, which arose after the substantial water loss and submitted the report to Allstate the following month, according to the suit.

Hitchcock claims she asked Allstate to reconsider its coverage denial as her damage was much more than what Allstate agreed to cover, but Allstate failed to respond to the request. She then called Guida on April 4, 2017, and he confirmed Allstate’s coverage denial on the phone call.

The defendants breached their contract with Hitchcock and caused her damages, according to the suit.

Hitchcock is seeking compensatory damages. She is represented by Laura C. Davis and Andrew C. Skinner of Skinner Law Firm.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 3:18-cv-00059




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