Galveston man sues insurer over failure to pay boat fire claim

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 3, 2009, 4:17pm

GALVESTON � Asserting an accidental fire on his shrimp boat warrants coverage, a Texas City man seeks in excess of $240,000 in damages from his insurance company, recent court documents say.

Thomas Nguyen's deceptive trade lawsuit against State National Insurance Co. Inc., filed in Galveston County District Court on June 2, accuses the defendant of not promptly paying Nguyen the insured value of the F/V Master Ryan.

A blaze engulfed the F/V Master Ryan on or around Dec. 6, 2008.

The suit says the plaintiff subsequently provided State National "with timely notice of loss and has fully cooperated with the defendant in the investigation of the loss."

Nguyen, however, claims he did not see a cent or receive an adequate offer of settlement in writing within a 60-day window.

"On plaintiff timely delivered to the defendant a demand detailing his claim for damages, including the amount of his claim, together with a demand," the original petition states.

"The defendant knowingly or intentionally engaged in false, misleading, or deceptive practices."

According to the suit, the defendant's conduct and actions violated multiple state codes and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The plaintiff insists State National's alleged disregard toward his claim will put a huge strain on his finances.

"The defendant is aware or has reason to know that refusing to pay to the plaintiff would probably result in extraordinary harm to the plaintiff, including the genuine likelihood of financial catastrophe, of a kind not ordinarily associated with the refusal to pay insurance proceeds."

Nguyen claims to have suffered mental anguish, including grief, severe disappointment, indignation, despair and public humiliation.

The plaintiff demands a trial by jury.

Bellaire attorney Seth A. Nichamoff is representing Nguyen.

Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV0863

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