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Kump v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 28, 2014

TIMOTHY M. KUMP, Plaintiff
v.
STATE FARM FIRE & CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant

Page 605

For Timothy M Kump, Plaintiff: David C. Shipman, Elion, Wayne, Grieco, Carlucci, Shipman & Irwin, PC, Williamsport, PA; Robert G. Fleury, Robert G Fleury, Esq. Attorney at Law, Troy, PA.

For State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, Defendant: Lee E. Ullman, Forry, Ullman, Ullman & Forry, P.C., Reading, PA.

OPINION

Page 606

MEMORANDUM

MALACHY E. MANNION, United States District Judge.

A fire, theft, and loss of millions of dollars of memorabilia, maps, documents, cash, rare coins, and artwork bye the likes of Picasso and Rembrandt are the subject matter of this case. These valuable items were all allegedly owned and maintained by Timothy Kump in his private home. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company covered his residence and these many artifacts with two policies totaling nearly $2 million in coverage. In April 2010 Mr. Kump's home was burglarized and suffered a devastating fire. After the flames were quenched and the losses started to mount, State Farm began to question the authenticity of Mr. Kump's vast collection. To date, State Farm has denied coverage beyond the value of the home and some of his coins.

Last July, State Farm completed its investigation into Mr. Kump's claims regarding many of the pieces of art. That inquiry determined that neither Mr. Kump, nor any of the other individuals he identified, could authenticate the artwork he allegedly owned. Based on that investigation, State Farm denied that part of his claim. Mr. Kump also alleges that State Farm agreed to cover several gold coins, valued at over $4.8 million alone, but has since rebuked that agreement.

Mr. Kump has recently filed a motion to file supplemental briefs based mainly on this investigation. (Doc. 32). The supplemental complaint contains five counts: two breach of express contracts claims, two breach of implied-in-fact contract claims, and one claim alleging the defendant breached its duty of good faith under 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8371. As the court finds the plaintiff's breach of contract claims are all adequately covered within his initial complaint and do not stem from events coming to light after it was filed, that part of the motion is DENIED. However, given that the plaintiff has alleged sufficient new facts in regard to his bad faith claim, the motion will be GRANTED as to that claim only.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The plaintiff, Timothy M. Kump, had a long-standing contractual relationship with the defendant, State Farm Fire & Casualty Company, that spanned over three decades. After a re-evaluation of his needs and review by one of the defendant's agents in early 2010, the plaintiff increased his insurance coverage to $550,000 for his home and $1.5 million for his personal possessions contained therein. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He also executed a Personal Articles Policy (PAP) with a coverage total of $435,000. A short time later, the plaintiff allegedly notified the defendant that he wanted to include fourteen additional gold coins from his grandmother on this policy. The plaintiff claims the total value of these coins exceeded $4.8 million. (Id., p. 44). In addition to those coins, the plaintiff avers he owned the following items: sixty-one etchings by Rembrandt van Rign (valued at $102,000); one hundred and fifty-three pieces by Pablo Picasso (valued at $3,118,650); twenty-one documented Frederick Elliot Hart sculptures (valued at $619,000); three hundred and one rare coins (varying values); two hundred and

Page 607

one $1,000 bills; $200,000 in cash; various historical documents dating back to the Revolutionary War; and Civil War memorabilia including guns, swords, and rare firearms. Despite the fact the plaintiff alleges a collection in excess of $9 million, he only insured them for $1.5 million along with an additional $435,000 of PAP coverage.

In late April 2010, the plaintiff's home, laden with valuable art, artifacts, coins, and other items, was broken into. Many of his valuable materials were allegedly stolen. Those not stolen were destroyed by the fire that completely engulfed his home. It is unclear what items were taken by the thieves and what items were consumed by the flames. (Doc. 1, p. 2-7). There is nothing before the court to indicate who ...


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