West Virginia Record

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Lawsuit against Allstate for total loss removed to federal court

Federal Court

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 18, 2019

Fire

CHARLESTON — A lawsuit filed against Allstate alleging breach of contract has been removed to federal court.

The notice of removal was filed Oct. 11 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, arguing that because Allstate's principal place of business is in Illinois, and that the other parties are citizens of West Virginia and Virginia, it satisfied the claim for the diversity of citizenship.

"There is complete diversity of citizenship as between the Plaintiffs and Defendant Allstate," the notice states. "While Defendant Hambrick is a West Virginia resident, he has been fraudulently joined to Plaintiff's Complaint in an effort to destroy diversity jurisdiction.

Allstate also claims the amount in controversy exceeds the $75,000 limit on state court actions, arguing that the plaintiffs are seeking a total of more than $800,000 in compensatory damages, as well as an unspecified amount in punitive damages.

Damon McDowell, Mary McDowell and Deeanna McDowell filed the lawsuit against Allstate and Patrick O. Hambrick Jr. in Fayette Circuit Court in September before it was removed to federal court.

The plaintiffs claim Hambrick prepared an insurance proposal for their property in Oak Hill on May 17, which provided $332,210 in homeowners coverage and dwelling protection and $199,326 in personal property protection.

A fire occurred at the residence in June 20 and was determined by the city to be a total loss, however, the defendants have failed and refused to make any determination, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim despite Allstate sending several emails and letters that stated the claim was being worked on and that payment was on its way, they received a notice of cancelation on July 4 that stated the policy would be canceled for several reasons and the date of cancelation was listed as Aug. 14 which was 53 days after the covered fire loss.

"Nonetheless, another fraudulent attempt was later made by Notice dated July 18, 2019, in attempt to avoid the Policy payment as required by the Policy," the complaint states. 

The plaintiffs claim Allstate breached its contract with them and made false representations. They claim the defendants' actions caused them irreparable harm.

The plaintiffs are seeking judgment in the amount of $807,389 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages. They are represented by Erwin L. Conrad of Conrad & Conrad in Fayetteville.

Allstate is represented by Brent K. Kesner of Kesner & Kesner in Charleston.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 2:19-cv-00746

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