Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, April 10, 2020

Homeowner claims insurance company's actions led to loss in personal injury action


By John Breslin | Feb 25, 2020

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EDWARDSVILLE – A homeowner claims her insurance company wrongly entered into an agreement with a third party that severely limited any ability to sue for personal injury.

Cecelia Bush, in her suit filed Feb. 6 in Madison County Circuit Court against State Farm Insurance, claims that the agreement with General Electric led to her settling an action with the latter for nuisance value.

Bush also claims that she was not fully compensated by the insurance company, which she alleges was "vexatious" in its actions.

"The filing of a lawsuit does not substantiate the allegations within the complaint. We’ve recently learned about these filings, and it would be premature to comment on either case at this time," State Farm public affairs specialist Gina Morss-Fischer said. The company's comment included reference to a second filing in the same court.

The complaint has its roots in an insurance claim following a house fire that the parties believe was caused by an electrical fault.

Under the insurance policy, Bush was covered for all contents and losses linked to the fire. State Farm had the right to seek reimbursement from any other party allegedly to blame. The plaintiff states that State Farm did not have the right to negotiate on her behalf or release personal rights.

It is claimed that State Farm, in an agreement with General Electric, released the company from any liability to compensate the plaintiff, including if she filed a personal injury claim.

The insurance company "misrepresented its authority to act as an agent" for the plaintiff, it is claimed.

Bush states that she did not find out about the details of this agreement until General Electric's attorneys produced it last year after she filed suit against the company. She claims to have settled for much less than might be expected.

The plaintiff, who is seeking $50,000 in damages, is represented by Brian M. Wendler of Wendler Law in Edwardsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2020-L-147.

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Madison County Circuit Court