Belleville property owner sues State Farm claiming it underpaid East Main fire loss

Kelly Holleran Jun. 5, 2012, 4:13pm


The owner of two pieces of Belleville property, each worth more than $500,000, claims his insurance company has failed to pay him proper costs after a fire destroyed the buildings.

Ronnie Phillips filed a lawsuit May 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against State Farm Insurance and Aaron Fields.

In his complaint, Phillips alleges he owned two pieces of property at 205 and 207 East Main St. in Belleville, which were insured by State Farm. A fire destroyed the property at 205 East Main Street on May 26, 2010. Phillips attempted to file a claim with his insurance agency but encountered problems in his attempts to be paid money, according to the complaint.

"Over the course of time, it was discovered that the building was not properly insured for its full and real value as the square footage of the building was miscalculated and an entire floor was not indicated in the coverage in accordance with the square footage covered for the building," the suit states.

When Phillips attempted to contact State Farm about the money that he claims he was owed, Fields, who had sold him the insurance policy, avoided him, the complaint says. Phillips claims he later discovered that Fields was attempting to avoid him because of the square footage issue, which set the value of the building at the wrong amount.

Due to the mistake, Phillips has not been able to secure enough money to rebuild the property, according to the complaint. The cost to rebuild the property stood at $1,148,156, the complaint says. Because of his inability to rebuild, Phillips has lost rental income, the suit states.

In his complaint, Phillips seeks a judgment of more than $1 million, plus rental income during the time of the delayed payment and other relief the court deems just.

Penni Livingston of Livingston Law Firm in Fairview Heights will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-283.

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