Couple sues Farmers for denying claims on 14 properties

David Yates Sep. 13, 2007, 9:14am

When Hurricane Rita hit, Freddie and Zohreh Shahrodi owned 14 homes in the Beaumont area, most of which were in the West End. Once the couple assessed the damage to their properties, they submitted claims to their insurance companies, Texas Farmers Insurance and Fire Insurance Exchange, who "summarily denied at least a portion of the claims without an adequate investigation."

Freddie and Zohreh Shahrodi filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Farmers and FIE with the Jefferson County District Court on Sept. 10.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, Farmers and FIE had sold the policies insuring the properties of the couple or the couples' predecessors.

"Plaintiffs submitted claims to Defendants with date of loss Sept. 24, 2005 for damage to the dwellings as a result of Hurricane Rita," the suit said. "Defendants failed to adjust the claims and summarily denied at least a portion of the claims without an adequate investigation. In fact, Plaintiffs claims still remain unpaid and the Plaintiffs have been forced to make many of the necessary repairs following the storm without the benefit of insurance proceeds to which they were entitled."

The suit goes on to say the Defendants wrongfully denied Plaintiffs' claims for repairs of the property, even though the policy provided coverage for losses such as those suffered by Plaintiffs.

"Defendants failed to perform its contractual duty to adequately compensate Plaintiff under the terms of the policy," the suit said. "Such conduct constitutes breach of the insurance contract between Defendant and Plaintiff. Defendants misrepresented to Plaintiffs that the damage to the property was not covered under the policy, even though the damage was caused by a covered occurrence. Defendants' conduct constitutes violations of the Texas Unfair Competition and Unfair Practices Act."

The suit also says the Defendants failed to make an attempt to settle Plaintiffs' claims in a fair manner, although they were aware of their liability to Plaintiffs under the policy.

The Plaintiffs further allege the defendants conduct violated several insurance code violations and that the Plaintiff knowingly committed the alleged violations, the suit said.

The Plaintiffs are suing for actual, consequential and exemplary damages.

They are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by the Wyatt Snider of Snider & Byrd.

Case No. D179-982

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