Madison - St. Clair Record

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Insurance agency seeks to dismiss couple’s second lawsuit alleging hail damage

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Sep 15, 2015

An insurance company seeks to dismiss a Belleville couple’s lawsuit for hail damage compensation, arguing that the plaintiffs knew they would not be reimbursed for the full cost of replacing a loss.

Patrick and Rosanne Mathis filed their April 28 lawsuit against Robert Friederich and Bob Friederich Insurance Agency Inc., seeking $200,000 in damages.

The couple filed a similar lawsuit on Dec. 20 against Illinois Farmer Insurance Co., seeking $143,000 for the alleged storm damage from the same 2012 storm. It is unknown if the properties in both lawsuits are the same.

In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim they contacted the insurer in 2003 to secure home insurance. According to the complaint, the couple chose replacement coverage, which they claim an agent told them would reimburse the full cost of replacing any loss, versus insuring at fair-market value, which they were told would insure the depreciated value of the loss.

They paid their premiums until 2012. Then, on April 28, 2012, a storm struck the home and surrounding area, causing severe hail damage to the home and, particularly, its slate roof.

However, the defendant has refused to pay the claim filed by the plaintiffs, stating that the damage resulted from wear and tear, the suit states.

The plaintiffs accuse the defendant of violating consumer fraud and business practices laws, as well as breach of statutory duty and fraud.

The plaintiffs claim the estimate to repair the roof is $142,000. They seek $200,000 in damages, plus costs.

On June 8, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Mathis’ most recent suit, arguing the plaintiffs “clearly” knew the alleged misrepresentation for more than two years.

“Plaintiffs’ claim for insurance benefits was denied on August 16, 2012, as shown through the attached Farmer’s denial letter. Put simply, plaintiffs knew the alleged misrepresentation by defendants [Farmers would not reimburse the full cost of replacing any loss] was false on the day this letter was received. To that end, plaintiffs knew about any alleged misrepresentations two years, eight months and 12 days before the filing of the complaint,” the motion states.

The defendants also claim the complaint is time barred, because it was filed more than eight months after the statute of limitations had expired.

On Aug. 3, Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson scheduled a motion hearing to address the defendants’ motion to dismiss on Oct. 7 at 9 a.m.

The defendants filed a motion to consolidate the cases. The defendants claim that in the new suit, the plaintiffs “generally realllege all the facts and circumstances in their complaint against Illinois Farmers Insurance Company as they do now against the agent and agency.”

The case was consolidated that same day with case 13-L-626.

The plaintiffs are represented by Laura E. Schrick of Mathis, Marifian and Richter Ltd., in Belleville.

The defendants are represented by James Clayborne of Clayborne, Sabo & Wagner in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-253 and 13-L-626

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