Denied fire claim trial against Country Mutual and agent set to open Monday

Amelia Flood May 6, 2010, 10:32am


A suit over the denial of a man's $309,000 fire insurance claim is set for trial Monday.

Plaintiff Brent Davis is suing Country Mutual Insurance and Mike Morris for multiple counts of breach of contract, negligence, vexatious refusal to pay and other claims.

He alleges that Country Mutual refused to pay a September 2005 claim of about $309,000 he filed when his Granite City home burned down.

Davis claims that he lost his $165,000 home, $15,000 car, and $145,000 in personal property after the blaze.

He is suing Morris for allegedly making statements to the insurer that David and former co-plaintiff Lori Flowers intentionally set the home on fire.

Country Mutual denies the claims.

Morris, in his handwritten answer of April 2007, claims those statements were misheard and misunderstood.

Davis' suit seeks damages of at least $50,000, attorney's fees and costs per each count.

The suit had also named insurance agent Matt Crider.

Crider was dismissed from the case May 4. In the order dismissing him it states that each party is to bear their own costs and that he was dismissed with prejudice.

Flowers also dropped out of the suit in May 2008.

She dropped her claims without prejudice.

The trial is set to start at 9 a.m.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth presides.

The case had been assigned to then-Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

Davis is represented by Anthony Bruning.

Country Mutual is represented by Douglas Richard and others.

Crider was represented by Sara Finan Melly and others.

Morris represents himself.

The case is Madison case number 06-L-451.

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