Cahokia resident sues Allstate over unpaid fire claim

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 3, 2008, 12:35pm

A Cahokia man who lost almost everything in a house fire filed suit against Allstate Insurance in St. Clair County Circuit Court alleging it has refused to pay his claim.

Leonard Hand, Jr., claims his home and personal property were damaged by smoke and destroyed by fire on Aug. 12, 2007.

According to the complaint filed March 26, Hand's home is located at 38 Lauralee Dr. in Cahokia and was insured through Allstate from May 2007 until May 2008.

"Loss by smoke and fire are types of loss or peril for which plaintiff's insurance policy contract as issued to him by Allstate has and provides by its terms property damage coverage provided," the complaint states.

Hand claims he timely submitted his sworn statement, in proof of loss, fire insurance claims and forms. He also claims he submitted to an examination under oath by one of Allstate's lawyers in St. Louis, but five months after the fire his claim was denied.

Hand claims Allstate is in breach of contract for failing to pay the claim.

According to Hand, he has sustained at least $172,323.16 in damages broken down as follows:

  • $103,216 for his home;
  • $53,847.16 for contents;
  • $9,600 for the loss of use of his home;
  • $500 for burned shrubs; and
  • $5,160 for debris clean up.

    "Defendant failed and refused to pay plaintiff's fire insurance claim without good cause or excuse for denying coverage on his claims," the complaint states.

    According to Hand, Allstate claims that he started the fire even though he was at work at the time of the fire.

    Represented by Mark Silvermintz of Belleville, Hand is seeking a judgment of $300,310.22, which includes attorney fees at 40 percent, interest and statutory penalties.

    08 L 152 (20th Circuit)

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