Suit says insurance should have covered wind damage

David Yates Aug. 7, 2007, 10:33am

Beaumont homeowner Wanda Lewis claims that the Capitol County Mutual Fire Insurance Co., along with three of its adjusters, wrongfully denied her Hurricane Rita damage claim, even though her policy covered windstorm damage.

Lewis filed her breach of contract lawsuit against Capitol, Roberto Eniquez, Dawn Mulkey and Catherine Hendrix with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 2.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, Lewis submitted a claim for roof, water, structural and wind damage, as well as additional living expenses, following Rita. Capitol assigned the three aforementioned adjusters, who "wrongfully" denied her claim.

The suit says Lewis asked the insurance company to cover the cost of repairs to her property but Capitol "misrepresented" to her that the damage to the property was not covered under the policy, "even though the damage was caused by a covered occurrence."

The suit alleges that by denying a portion of the Lewis' claim, Capitol "failed to perform its contractual duty."

"Defendant failed to explain to plaintiffs the reasons for their offer of an inadequate settlement," the suit said, adding that Capitol and its adjusters refused to conduct a reasonable investigation.

The suit faults Capitol for breeching its contract and duty of good faith and fair dealing, and also alleges the insurance company committed several violations of the Texas Insurance Code.

Furthermore, the suit says the adjusters are also guilty of several Insurance Code violations and accuses all defendants of committing fraud.

Lewis is suing for the unpaid claim, actual and compensatory damages, economic hardship, plus exemplary damages and damages for mental anguish.

Lewis is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney J. Steve Mostyn of the Mostyn Law Firm.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. D179-744

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