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Clark v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 7, 2013

LIANA CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

RONALD L. BUCKWALTER, Sr., District Judge.

Currently pending before the Court is Defendant Allstate Insurance Company's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Liana Clark's Amended Complaint. For the following reasons, the Motion is denied.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This case arises from an insurance dispute over damage to Plaintiff Clark's home. The facts, as set forth in the Amended Complaint, are as follows. On or about August 27, 2011, Ms. Clark's home, which was insured by Defendant Allstate Insurance Company, suffered damage. (Am. Compl. §§ 3, 5.) Notice of this loss was given to Allstate on August 31, 2011. (Id. § 6.) On September 26, 2011, Allstate's adjuster, Paul DeBeer, inspected the property along with Plaintiff's Public Adjuster Brian Singer and Plaintiff's husband, Mason Schecter. (Id. § 7.) During his inspection, Mr. DeBeer took photos, measurements, and notes as he observed damages from the incident on August 27. (Id. § 8.) After several inquiries requesting an update on the status of Plaintiff's claim were made, a letter, dated September 24, 2011 from Defendant updating the status of the claim, was received by Plaintiff on October 12, 2011. (Id. § 9.) The letter noted that an "investigation of the loss is continuing." (Id. § 10.)

On October 13, 2011, Plaintiff was informed by her public adjustor that Allstate had made a request for a second inspection of the property on October 20. (Id. § 11.) Allstate did not provide a reason for the second inspection or delay in determination of the coverage. (Id.) Plaintiff sent Allstate an electronic request as to why the second inspection was needed, and she also asked, "What happened to the last inspection results?" (Id.) Plaintiff then placed several calls to Allstate to further understand any reason for an additional inspection. (Id.) Allstate's telephone representatives read from Mr. DeBeer's inspection notes, noted that Mr. DeBeer did not perform an inspection of the roof, and speculated that the reason for the request was to complete the inspection of the roof. (Id.) Plaintiff communicated this information to her Public Adjustor via e-mail at 5:56 p.m. on October 13. (Id.) At 8:00 p.m. on October 14, Plaintiff received a phone call from Allstate's representative, Jeff Wood, who confirmed that an additional inspection was required of the roof because Mr. DeBeer did not inspect the roof and Allstate did not have any photographs of the property, though they did have Mr. DeBeer's notes. (Id. § 12.) Later that day, Allstate representative Byesheba Burgess relayed an e-mail from Allstate representative Lynn Brownlee to Plaintiff, which stated that Mr. DeBeer had left the area and took with him all his notes from the original inspection. (Id. § 13.)

On October 17, 2011, Plaintiff requested from Ms. Burgess copies of all materials, notes, and pictures from Mr. DeBeer's inspection. (Id. § 14.) She also requested to speak with Mr. Brownlee directly. (Id.) She spoke with Mr. Brownlee the same day, and, after much discussion, he admitted that Allstate did, in fact, possess Mr. DeBeer's notes. (Id. § 15.) Plaintiff and Mr. Brownlee subsequently agreed to an additional inspection by Mr. Wood that was to be limited solely to an inspection of the roof. (Id. § 16.) They also agreed that access to the interior of the property was not necessary and would not be provided, and that following the inspection, Mr. Wood would rely upon both Mr. DeBeer's notes and Mr. Singer's measurements and pictures when producing an estimate for the remaining scope of the claim. (Id.)

On October 20, Mr. Wood inspected the roof of Plaintiff's property for damage related to the incident on August 27. (Id. at 17.) Mr. Singer accompanied Mr. Wood throughout the inspection and offered photographs and measurements as agreed. (Id. at 18) On October 24, Mr. Wood completed an estimate for $632.47, the scope of which covered the roof and the siding but excluded both the interior of the home and emergency repair expenses incurred by Plaintiff. (Id. at 19.) On October 25, Plaintiff called Allstate and again requested all work product produced by Mr. DeBeer, Mr. Wood, Mr. Brownlee, and any other investigators or Allstate personnel involved. (Id. at 20.) This request was refused by Allstate representative Carl Maxwell. (Id.) Plaintiff then sent an email repeating the request to several Allstate employees. (Id.)

On October 26, 2011, Roman Suarez, Allstate Market Catastrophe Claims Manager, State of Pennsylvania, contacted Plaintiff. (Id. § 21.) Plaintiff and Mr. Suarez agreed in corresponding emails to the same conditions previously agreed to by Mr. Brownlee on October 17 that "Brian [Singer, Plaintiff's Adjuster] would provide measurements, pictures and his estimate for the damages to our house (all of which were provided to Jeffrey Wood last week) directly to Roman, and that hopefully a reasonable settlement can be reached by the end of the week. Currently, no additional inspections beyond the two already conducted on September 26th and October 20th are contemplated or scheduled." (Id.)

On October 27, 2011, Plaintiff asked Roman Suarez via email, "At this time an I required to provide a signed, sworn proof of loss?" (Id. § 22.) Mr. Suarez replied, "I will schedule a Conference Call with [Brian Singer] and Mr. Hugh Davis, one of our Leaders that works with me. After said conversation I will let you know if we need a Proof of Loss" (Id.) The same day, after reviewing the language contained in the Allstate Homeowners Policy, Plaintiff provided a Proof of Loss via email to Mr. Suarez. (Id. § 23.)

On October 28, during a conference call scheduled for the purpose of discussing the claim and attended by Plaintiff, Mr. Singer, and Mr. Suarez, Mr. Suarez acknowledged receipt of the Proof of Loss and stated that (1) because of his receipt of the Proof of Loss he would no longer be involved in the claim, and (2) another adjuster would be assigned to the claim. (Id. § 24.) Also on October 28, Plaintiff repeated the earlier request for all of Mr. DeBeer's notes via email sent to Mr. Suarez and all other Allstate employees. (Id. § 25.) On October 31, Mr. Suarez wrote to Plaintiff and informed him that they were unable to locate Mr. DeBeer to retrieve the information he obtained during his inspection on September 26. (Id. § 26.)

Also on October 31, Defendant representative Clare Erskine sent a letter to Plaintiff requesting a third inspection of the property. (Id. § 27.) Plaintiff responded to Ms. Erskine the same day and stated, "Lynn Brownell and Roman Suarez both confirmed that no additional inspections were needed. Nothing has changed since then except your receipt of the POL [Proof of Loss]." (Id. § 28.) Plaintiff also repeated an earlier request for a reason for a third inspection. (Id.) Ms. Erskine informed Plaintiff that she would no longer correspond with him via email. (Id. § 29.)

On November 1, Plaintiff e-mailed a comprehensive request for all materials relating to the claim, including:

(1) Each and every complete and unredacted original claim file kept in connection with the subject claim No. 0216418582 as maintained at home office, any regional office, any local office or any other claims office maintaining such files, including all file contents, notes, file jackets, audio recordings, computer files, photos and every e-mail[.]
(2) Each and every complete and unredacted original underwriting file kept in connection with the subject policy No. XXXXXXXXX as maintained at home office, any regional office, any local office or any other office maintaining such files, including all file contents, notes, ...

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