Breach of contract suit over Collinsville fire in arbitration

Young

A suit over reimbursement for home repairs and contents following a 2007 Collinsville house fire is in arbitration in St. Clair County. The original suit brought against State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance settled earlier this year. But, according to a July 16 order, the remaining parties, plaintiffs Linda Lynch and Velvet Lovell, agreed to binding arbitration over a $10,500 lien filed against their settlement by Jimmy and Karen Wells for repairs to their Collinsville home. The order was signed by St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young. St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley is presiding. Lynch and Lovell originally sued State Farm for what they claimed was a breach of contract and vexatious payment delay on the insurer's part. According to the pair's second amended complaint, their Collinsville home was damaged by fire Dec. 26, 2007. Although State Farm paid about $94,400 for the home's actual repairs, the complaint contends that the insurer refused to pay out for Lynch's building coverage or for the value of Lovell's possessions. Lynch was the policy holder at the time of the fire, according to court documents. The pair sought damages of at least $50,000 and interest for three counts of the suit, and costs. In its answers to the second amended complaint, State Farm objected to vague and ambiguous language and also contended that the two misrepresented and concealed facts about the fire from the claim investigation, which would have voided the policy. Details of the settlement weren't available in the case file. Chris Kolker of Belleville represented Lovell and Lynch. State Farm was represented by David Cooper of St. Louis. The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-022.

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