6 insurance lawsuits filed over Labor Day 2020 fires – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

A half-dozen Oregon homeowners and businesses have filed federal lawsuits this month alleging underpayments in the aftermath of the destructive Labor Day 2020 wildfires, including the Almeda Fire.

Two Talent homeowners, a Phoenix homeowner and a Phoenix plumbing business are among the plaintiffs in six lawsuits filed in the US District Court in Oregon this month alleging breach of contract stemming from insurance claim disputes.

Five of those six lawsuits name State Farm and Casualty Company as defendant.

The exception is Teck Plumbing LLC, which filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against Ohio Security Insurance Company Sept. 6, stemming from underpaid insurance claims for its two commercial structures in the 600 block of North Main Street in Phoenix.

According to the lawsuit filed with the aid of Portland lawyer Nick Gower, the insurance company paid the plumbing business $253,638.90 for one structure and $132,893.43 for the second — a combined underpayment of $219,787.16.

The lawsuit seeks the unpaid damages plus 9% interest, $1 million in punitive damages plus attorney’s fees.

Other seven-figure lawsuits filed the first week of September in Oregon District Court against State Farm were those of Gary A. Hatfield, owner of four Lane County properties with homes and outbuildings destroyed by the Sept. 7 Holiday Fire, and Richard and Brenda Cole of Linn County.

Hatfield had two affected properties in Leaburg and two in Vida. Hatfield’s lawsuit filed by Eugene insurance lawyer R. Scott Taylor alleges $1,248,000 in underpayments.

The Coles, who are also represented by Gower, seek $1 million in punitive damages against State Farm. The lawsuit alleges the Coles submitted property damages on a replacement cost basis in an amount of $220,144, but State Farm only paid on an actual cash value basis amounting to $165,485.91. They seek unpaid damages of $54,658.09 plus prejudgment 9% interest and $1 million in punitive damages, among other costs.

Three Southern Oregonians filed separate lawsuits against State Farm this month surrounding underpayments after the fire. They are Elizabeth Dimick, Sharon Douglas and Matthew Fawcett. Dimick and Douglas each resided in Talent, and Fawcett resided in Phoenix.

Dimick alleges State Farm has “failed, refused, delayed and neglected to pay the full benefits” under its policy for fire damage to her home in the 300 block of Oak Valley Drive, Talent, including the dwelling valued at up to $60,000, contents on the property not to exceed $200,000 and other coverage losses “to be determined at trial but not to exceed $50,000,” according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 2 with her insurance lawyer R. Scott Taylor of Eugene.

Douglas, who lived in the 200 block of Oak Valley Drive is suing State Farm for unpaid insurance claims that include up to $70,000 for dwelling loss, $90,000 for lost contents and “other coverage losses” to be determined at trial but not to exceed $60,000. in excess of what the defendant has already paid.”

Fawcett, who lived on Arana Drive in Phoenix, alleges State Farm underpaid him an estimated $25,458.22 and failed to pay him fair rental value damages in his policy of up to $6,000. He further seeks $10,000 in non-economic damages and $255,141.28 in punitive damages.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.

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