West Virginia Record

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Case against State Farm over bat infestation remanded to state court

State Court

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 5, 2019

WHEELING — A lawsuit against State Farm, alleging breach of contract has been remanded to state court with several hearings scheduled.

Discovery in the case must be completed by Nov. 15, and a pretrial conference is scheduled Oct. 7, according to an agreed scheduling conference order filed in Ohio Circuit Court.

Previously, the lawsuit was remanded to state court from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Wheeling by U.S. Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. 

"The plaintiffs point out that the complaint does not plead any special damages, but rather generally lists the types of damages to which they might be entitled," the remand order stated. "The plaintiffs contend that the defendant has not met its burden of proving that grounds exist for asserting federal jurisdiction because it has 'made no effort to quantify the plaintiff’s claims.'"

Wheeling property owners Nathaniel Realty and Dr. Howard L. Shackelford filed their complaint against State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, alleging an illegitimate cancellation of insurance policies. 

According to the complaint, in July 2017, the plaintiffs discovered that their Wheeling property insured by State Farm was infested with hundreds of bats in the attic. The plaintiffs say they promptly notified State Farm of the infestation but the defendant refuses to conduct an inspection and illegitimately canceled the insurance policy. After completing the repairs to the dwelling amounting to $14,550, the suit says, State Farm refuses to reimburse the plaintiffs for the costs of repairs. 

The plaintiffs allege State Farm Fire and Casualty refused to pay and/or offer to pay any of the benefits that are due and owing.

Nathaniel Realty and Shackelford seek trial by jury, compensatory, general and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and expenses incurred. They are represented by attorney Scott S. Blass of Bordas & Bordas PLLC in Wheeling.

The defendant is represented by attorney Tiffany R. Durst.

Ohio Circuit Court case number: 18-C-116

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