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Chong Chen v. Allstate Insurance Company

February 14, 2012

CHONG CHEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY,
DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Chong Chen sued Defendant Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") on April 4, 2011 in connection with property damage Chen incurred as a result of a fire at his neighbor's property. Chen alleges breach of contract for non-reimbursement of Chen's property damage. Presently before the Court is Allstate's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants Allstate's motion.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Insurance Policy

Allstate issued a homeowners insurance policy to Chen, which was in effect on February 19, 2010. (Id. ¶ 7.) The policy was a Deluxe Homeowners Policy, which indicated Chen as the named insured and the location of the property insured as 753 Jericho Road, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("the Jericho property"). (Compl. Ex. B [Chen Renewal, May 18, 2009 to May 18, 2010] at 5.) On February 19, 2010, the Jericho property was damaged by a fire that started at his neighbor Shan Qiao Zhang's property at 751 Jericho Road. (Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Facts in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. [Def.'s SOF] ¶ 4.) Chen submitted a property damage claim to Allstate on February 24, 2010. (Id. ¶ 9.)

The policy provided a reimbursement limit of $105,364 in personal property protection and $150,520 in dwelling protection. (Id. at 6.) According to the policy, "the dwelling is of Brick construction and is occupied by 1 family." (Id.) The Policy Declarations define the "residence premises" as "the dwelling, other structures and land located at the address stated on the Policy Declarations." (Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 2A [Deluxe Homeowners Policy pt. 1] at 19 ¶ 7.) "Dwelling" is defined to mean a "one, two, three or four family building structure identified as the insured property on the Policy Declarations, where you reside and which is principally used as a private residence." (Id. at 19 ¶ 12.) "Business" is defined as:

a) any full or part-time activity of any kind engaged in for economic gain and the use of any part of any premises for such purposes. . . .

b) any property rented or held for rental by an insured person. Rental of your residence premises is not considered a business when:

1) it is rented occasionally for residential purposes;

2) a portion is rented to not more than two roomers or boarders; or

3) a portion is rented as a private garage.

(Id. at 18-19 ¶ 7.) The policy also includes coverage details and exclusions. Under Section I, Property Protection, the policy provides coverage to dwellings, including attached structures, but not to other structures used in whole or in part for business. (Id. at 22.)

B. Chen's Residency

Chen purchased the Jericho property in 2005. He gave multiple and, at times, conflicting, statements regarding where Chen was actually living, how much time he spent at the Jericho property, when he was renting the Jericho property out, and why he purchased the property. Chen made statements at an interview on June 14, 2010 with Allstate related to his claim (Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J Ex. B [Chen Interview with Allstate]), at his Examination Under Oath ("EUO") on August 25, 2010 (Def.'s ...


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