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Collins v. Allstate Insurance Co.

December 10, 2009

DAVID COLLINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Yohn, J.

Memorandum

Plaintiff, David Collins, sued defendant, Allstate Insurance Company, for breach of an insurance contract (Count I) and for bad faith (Count II) based on Allstate's refusal to cover all of the alleged damages that a storm caused to plaintiff's house (the "Property"). Allstate has moved for partial summary judgment, seeking judgment on the portion of Count I related to the replacement of the entire roof of the Property and judgment as to the whole of Count II. Plaintiff argues that genuine issues of material fact exist as to both counts because Allstate allegedly:

(1) treated coverage of the interior of the Property differently from the exterior; and (2) provides coverage to other insureds for similar damage claims. I agree that there are genuine issues of material fact as to Count I and will deny summary judgment. Plaintiff also claims that summary judgment is premature because his attorneys have not had the opportunity to depose representatives of Allstate. I find that, as to Count II alone, plaintiff has demonstrated a sufficient need for such depositions pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(f), even though plaintiff did not explain why he did not pursue these depositions in a timely manner. I will therefore deny Allstate's motion without prejudice to Allstate's right to renew the motion as to Count II after the parties have completed discovery.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The facts of the instant case, which I view in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the non-moving party, are as follows.

Plaintiff alleges that on March 8, 2008, wind and rain from a storm caused sudden and accidental direct physical loss to the Property in the following areas: (1) the slate roof of the Property; (2) the exterior left side; (3) the interior third-floor attic, hall, stairs, and right-side room; (4) the interior second-floor closet, stairwell, rear bedroom, and right-side middle bedroom; and (5) the interior main-floor foyer. (Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Def.'s Stmnt. of Facts") ¶ 8.) Plaintiff alleges that Allstate is liable for all of the alleged damages based on a homeowner's insurance policy plaintiff purchased from Allstate (the "Policy"). (Compl. ¶ 5.) The Policy requires Allstate, in the event of a covered loss, to "repair, rebuild or replace all or any part of the damaged, destroyed or stolen property with property of like kind and quality within a reasonable time" or to reimburse the insured for the repair costs of "equivalent construction for similar use" up to the applicable limit of liability. (Answer Ex. A.)

After plaintiff notified Allstate of the loss, Allstate assigned Pilot Catastrophe Services, Inc., and one of Pilot's adjusters, Patricia Lynn Camp, to investigate plaintiff's claim. (Def.'s Stmnt. of Facts ¶ 11.) On May 16, 2008, based on Camp's inspection of the home, Allstate prepared an initial estimate of damages to the exterior and interior of the house, calculating gross repair costs to be $13,265.42 for restoration of: (1) the damaged sections of the roof, but not replacement of the roof in its entirety; (2) the third-floor hallway, stairwell, den/storage room, and attic; (3) the second-floor closet, hallway, and middle and rear bedrooms; and (4) the main-floor foyer. (Id. ¶ 13.) Based on this estimate, and after applying the $500.00 deductible and $2,202.52 in depreciation, Allstate issued a check for $10,562.90 to plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 14.)

Allstate also hired Doug Weiss of Rainmasters, Inc., to inspect the Property. (Id. ¶ 17.) On December 2, 2008, Weiss reported the following observations:

(1) "The slate shingles on this home are old";

(2) "There have been previous repairs to the slate roofing";

(3) There was a "recent repair to the front upper left corner of the roof. It appear[ed] two or three new slates were installed";

(4) There was "no other damage which could be considered wind damage";

(5) "There [were] some cracked slates and chipped slates throughout the roof. This [was] the result of ice and snow ...


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