The Ohio State Fire Marshal has released the findings of a report on an August 2021 house fire that is the basis of a pending lawsuit against Allstate.
The report concluded that the cause of the fire could not be determined due to the presence of electrical appliances in the area of origin and the inability to rule out accidental causes.
A human act, whether accidental or intentional, could not be ruled out either.
“This case is now closed and can be reopened in the future should additional information become available,” the fire marshal’s report read.
Lebanon city mayor Mark Messer and his wife filed a lawsuit against their insurer Allstate after their home caught fire around midnight on August 14, 2021, resulting in a sworn statement of at least $506,417 in proof of loss.
In the lawsuit, the couple claimed breach of contract and bad faith and sought a declaratory judgment, arguing that Allstate have delayed handling their claims.
The Messers filed their suit in Warren County Common Pleas Court but the case was later moved to the US District Court in Cincinnati on July 28, 2022, according to a report by the Dayton Daily News.
Allstate sent a letter to the Messers in response to the lawsuit that denied the couple’s claims, stating that its own investigation, “determined the policy does not provide coverage for your Claim because (1) the intentional act exclusion operates to preclude coverage, (2) you misrepresented and/or concealed information material to Allstate's investigation, and (3) you breached your duty to cooperate.”
“The evidence Allstate obtained through its investigation indicates it is more likely than not the subject fire was caused by the intentional acts of or at the direction of an insured person and the resulting loss was the reasonably expected and/or intended result of such acts,” the letter read further. “In light of that determination, the above policy provision operates to exclude coverage for your claim.”
Matthew S. Brown, an attorney representing the Messers, said the findings from the fire marshal’s investigation “provides Mark and Jennifer with no closure about what happened that terrible night,” but made note of how it revealed that “there was no basis whatsoever” for the couple to be forced to file a lawsuit in order to receive the protection Allstate had promised.
“We look forward to continuing the lawsuit against Allstate to hold them accountable for their failure to fulfill their promise to protect their insured in times of tragic loss,” Brown added.
What are your thoughts on this story? Feel free to comment below.