Another suit blames insurer, adjusters for not paying full hurricane claim

Kelly Holleran Dec. 3, 2008, 10:38am

A Jefferson County woman has filed suit against Capitol County Mutual Fire Insurance Company and two adjusters, alleging she was not paid money to which she was entitled after Hurricane Rita destroyed sections of her home.

When Gladys Mansfield's property at 7720 Tram Road in Beaumont sustained roof, water, wind and structural damage on Sept. 24, 2005, during the storm, she submitted a claim to Capitol, which had insured her property, according to the complaint filed Nov. 26 in Jefferson County District Court.

Mansfield requested Capitol cover the cost of repairs and asked for additional living expenses, the suit states.

However, Capitol denied Mansfield's claim, even though her policy promised coverage for such losses, she claims.

It denied the claim after assigning two adjusters – Matejka Cherry and Jarrett Davis – to adjust the claim, according to the complaint.

Capitol told Mansfield the damage to her property was not covered under the claim, which constitutes a violation of the Texas Insurance Code, unfair settlement practices, the suit states.

"Defendants failed to make an attempt to settle Plaintiffs' claim in a fair manner, although they were aware of their liability to Plaintiffs under the Policy," the suit states.

Capital also failed to affirm or deny coverage of Mansfield's claim within a reasonable time, another violation of the Texas Insurance Code, unfair settlement practices, she claims.

Capitol's behavior constitutes a breach of contract because it did not live up to promises made in its insurance policy with Mansfield, according to the complaint.

The adjusters violated the Texas Insurance Code because they misrepresented material facts relating to the coverage, according to the complaint.

The adjusters are also liable for common law fraud, the suit states.

"Each and every one of the representations, as described above, concerned material facts for the reason Plaintiffs would not have acted and Cherry and Davis knew were false or made recklessly without any knowledge of their truth as a positive assertion," the suit states.

Mansfield is seeking actual, treble, punitive and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, costs, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and other relief to which she may be entitled.

Michael R. Ramsey and Gregory F. Cox of Beaumont and J. Steve Mostyn of The Mostyn Law Firm in Houston will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham of the 58th District Court.

Case No. A182-773

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