Storm Damage Claims

Dallas insurance lawyers handling storm damage claims need to dread a recent opinion from the US District Court, Southern Division Texas, Houston Division. The opinion is styled, Nasti v. State Farm Lloyds, et al.
This is an insurance case arising from alleged storm damage to Nasti’s home which State Farm has filed a motion for summary judgment regarding. After the storm, Nasti was approached by Manley of Mac Roofing, who was offering free roof inspections to storm victims in the neighborhood. Both of Nasti’s neighbors on each side already had roofs replaced because of the storm. Nasti reported his claim to State Farm and requested an inspection with Mr. Manley present. State Farm adjuster Stewart Brown inspected Nasti’s roof and reported: “Reviewed 30yr fiberglass shingles for wind and hail damage with Mac’s Roofing present…. I did find damage that would be consistant w/ wind damage to the back left slope…. Inspected interior gameroom /entry and dining room and found water damage to ceilings.” Brown estimated the covered damage to be $3,107.54, less than the deductible of $6,584.00. Nasti requested a reinspection with a different adjuster. State Farm adjuster Dwight Johnson inspected Nasti’s roof and reported: “I inspected the roof with the contractor. My inspection revealed no evidence of storm related damage to the roof system…. The Shingle is a heavier 40 year shingle.” Despite finding no storm damage, Johnson did not alter Brown’s estimate of $3,107.54 damage. Nasti’s expert adjuster Shannon Kimmel inspected Nasti’s roof and reported:
I have visited Mr. Nasti’s home and inspected the damage to his roof. There is no question that Mr. Nasti’s roof was damaged by the severe wind and hail storm that hit The Woodlands, Texas, in June 2012…. I have adjusted thousands of these types of claims for various insurance companies, including State Farm…. In my opinion and based on my extensive experience as a former State Farm adjuster, inspections by Stewart Brown and Dwight Johnson were inadequate and unreasonable…. Photographs in the claim file clearly prove up covered damages resulting from wind and hail…. Mr. Brown’s and Mr. Johnson’s inspections and Mr. Brown’s damage estimate that was essentially rubber- stamped by Mr. Johnson-despite the fact that his findings contradicted Mr. Brown’s estimate-underestimated and/ or ignored obvious covered damaged [sic] that a reasonable adjuster, acting in good faith, would not have ignored.
Kimmel estimated the covered damage to be $49,808.47. Attached to Kimmel’s Declaration are 44 high-resolution color photographs showing significant damage on multiple slopes of the roof.
According to Federal Rule 56, summary judgment is proper if “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” A dispute over such a fact is genuine if the evidence presents an issue that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because it may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.
The Court granted the motion as to bad faith and prompt payment of claims allegations but denied the motion as to the breach of contract claim saying as follows:
Plaintiff’s conclusory allegations of bad faith, outcome- oriented and unreasonable inspections, misrepresentations, etc. are not competent summary judgment evidence.
Nevertheless, the affidavit and report of Plaintiff’s expert Shannon Kimmel, an experienced adjuster who in the past had worked for State Farm as well as other insurers, plus his attached photographs, do raise genuine issues of material fact for trial.

The Court then discussed its reasoning. As to this case the reasoning is logical and may be similar to other situations which is why the case is worth reading.

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