Defense verdict in insurance bad-faith case. San Mateo County.

Summary

Plaintiff claimed that defendant breached the contract of insurance and breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by failing to pay the amounts due under the policy of insurance arising from storm damage to his home.

The Case

  • Case Name: Julio Avina v. Pacific Specialty Insurance Company Inc.
  • Court and Case Number: San Mateo County Superior Court / CIV 513081
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, October 01, 2013
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, April 09, 2012
  • Type of Action: Insurance – Bad Faith, Claims Handling
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. John L. Grandsaert
  • Plaintiffs:
    Julio Avina, 31 owned a house cleaning company.
  • Defendants:
    Pacific Specialty Insurance Company Inc.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $0 - Defense Verdict
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: September 11th, 2013 through and including October 1st, 2013
  • Jury Deliberation Time: Approximately 6 hours
  • Jury Polls: Unanimous
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendants awarded $102,443.75 for attorney’s fees and $78,561.01 for costs.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Law Offices of Francis X. Doherty by Francis X. Doherty and Suzanne Brown Crow , San Rafael.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Langley Law Firm by Larry D. Langley and Kathleen M. Langley, Scottsdale, AZ.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    David Young, public adjuster.
    David Thomas Hewitt, contractor.
    Gerald Cadiente, contractor. 

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Fred Sobottka, structural engineer.
    Steve Klinger, contractor, Chandler, AZ.

     

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Non-physical injury case:  Arising out of wind/rain/hail storms in Phoenix, Arizona in October, 2010.

     

    The plaintiff, Julio Avina, is an Arizona resident and the claims submitted to the defendant, Pacific Specialty Insurance Company, a California company, involve a home in Phoenix, Arizona. Plaintiff claimed that defendant breached the contract of insurance and breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by failing to pay the amounts due under the policy of insurance arising out of the February 18, 2010, July 15, 2010 and October 5, 2010 storm damage claims involving plaintiff’s Arizona home. 

     

    Plaintiff sought to recover the cost to repair the insured dwelling, replacement of the entire original roof of the 35-year-old home, the living expenses needed during the repairs and for emotional distress.   

     

     

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant unjustifiably refused to pay the estimate of repairs submitted to defendant by plaintiff’s public adjuster Brown O’Haver for $87,096.12.

     

    That defendant resorted to fraud, malice and oppression and acted with an evil mind to evade its obligation under the policy of insurance and should be subjected to punitive damages.

     

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That defendant Pacific Specialty Insurance Company timely paid plaintiff the amounts due under the policy and denied any bad faith or breach of the insurance contract. Further, that plaintiff failed to notify the insurer in compliance with the contractual requirements.

     

    Defendants denied each of plaintiff’s claims and alleged the claim submitted to replace the entire roof system was not covered, that plaintiff failed to comply with the insurance policy provisions, breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and submitted an overstated claim.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    None.

  • Emotional injuries and living expenses during repair.

    Property damage of $87,096.12.

     

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $300,000
  • Plaintiff Demand during Trial: $650,000
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $30,000
  • Defendant Offer during Trial: $80,000

Additional Notes

The jury concluded that plaintiff had not complied with all of the requirements of the Insurance Policy in submitting his claims.

 

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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