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Collins v. Allstate Insurance Co.

June 17, 2010

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 bad faith (Count II) based on Allstate's refusal to cover all of the alleged damages a storm caused to Collins's house (the "Property"). Allstate moved for partial summary judgment on both counts as to Allstate's refusal to pay for replacement of the entire roof of the Property. The court denied Allstate's motion as to Count I. Pursuant to Collins's request under Rule 56(f), the court also denied the motion as to Count II without prejudice to the right to renew it after Collins conducted additional discovery. Now that Collins has conducted such discovery, Allstate has filed a renewed motion. Allstate argues that there is no evidence in the record to establish that it acted in bad faith when it only agreed to pay for repairs to the damaged portions of the roof. Collins argues that genuine issues of material fact exist as to Count II because Allstate: (1) intentionally treated coverage of the interior of the Property differently from the exterior; and (2) placed its own interests above his. The court concludes that there is no evidence in the record to establish that Allstate acted in bad faith. The court will therefore grant Allstate's renewed motion and will enter summary judgment in its favor as to Count II.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

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

Collins 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 Am. Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Def.'s Am. Stmnt. of Facts") ¶ 20.) Collins alleges that Allstate is liable for the cost of repairing all of the alleged damages based on a homeowner's insurance policy he purchased from Allstate. (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 Collins 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 Am. Stmnt. of Facts ¶ 21.) 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. ¶ 23.) 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 Collins. (Id. ¶ 24.)

Allstate also hired Doug Weiss of Rainmasters, Inc., to inspect the Property with Alan Duddy, an adjuster from Allstate who replaced Camp when she left the Philadelphia area. (Id. ¶¶ 27-28.) During his December 1, 2008, inspection of the exterior of the Property, Duddy noticed that "there was no uniform appearance" on the roof of the Property that he could see from the ground. (Def.'s Mem. Ex. G ("Duddy Dep.") 67:15-24.) 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 over an extended period of time."

(Def.'s Am. Stmnt. of Facts ¶ 30.) Weiss concluded as follows:

Slate roofing which is in this aged condition needs annual maintenance to repair winter damage. Not all cracked and chipped slates necessarily need to be replaced. If they do not allow water to infiltrate the home, they are not normally replaced. (Id.) After he received Weiss's report, Duddy determined that there was no basis for a ...


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