Suit: Granite City couple say fire claim denied over arson investigation

Kelly Holleran Jan. 22, 2009, 2:50am

An Illinois couple has filed suit against State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, alleging the insurance company did not pay them for a claim after their apartment caught on fire.

Carl A. and Stephanie A. Tinker claim they were living in an apartment building at 1406 State Street in Granite City when it caught on fire Jan. 18 and destroyed all their possessions inside, according to the complaint filed Jan. 16 in Madison County Circuit Court.

At the time of the fire, the Tinkers had a homeowners' insurance policy, but their claim was denied despite the fact that the Tinkers have performed all of their obligations under the policy, the suit states.

"That Defendant has made clear the principal reason for said denial is an ongoing arson investigation pertaining to the subject property," the suit states. "This denial has occurred despite the fact that the Granite City Fire Department investigators did not find any evidence connecting Plaintiffs to arson."

Because of the reason for their claim's denial, the Tinkers allege they suffered embarrassment and humiliation.

By refusing to pay for the Tinkers' claim, State Farm has breached the terms of the agreement between both parties, the Tinkers allege.

In the two-count suit, the Tinkers are seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000, plus attorney's fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Thomas E. Schwartz and Justin D. Guerra of Holloran, White and Schwartz in St. Louis will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0037.

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