Man sues insurance company over refusal to pay for water damage

Kelly Holleran Apr. 5, 2010, 9:00am

A Beaumont man claims his insurance company refuses to adequately pay for water damages caused to his home.

Herman Williams filed a lawsuit March 29 in Jefferson County District Court against Allstate Texas Lloyd's, Texas Property MCO and adjusters Wendell Wooten and Kip Halley.

Williams claims he obtained a home insurance policy through Allstate to cover his property at 5110 Oakmont Drive in Beaumont.

On Oct. 29, Williams' property sustained massive water damage after a leak occurred on the second floor of his home, according to the complaint.

"Plaintiff's tenant returned to the house for lunch to discover the upstairs of the house had been saturated with water since leaving the house that morning," the suit states.

"As a result of the amount of water leakage, extensive water damage extended to the ground floor of the house. The water damage to Plaintiff's property includes, but is not limited to, Plaintiff's flooring, baseboards, drywall, ceilings, crown molding, walls, paint, cabinetry and appliances."

After seeing the damage, Williams contacted Allstate to make a claim under his insurance policy, the complaint says.

Subsequently, Allstate assigned several adjusters to investigate, including Texas Property MCO, Wooten and Halley, Williams claims.

The first adjuster who showed up to Williams' house said he could not inspect his property as the damages were above his pay grade. Wooten then arrived, but during his inspection he failed to look at all the damages or to scope the entire property, according to the complaint.

When Williams received Wooten's recommended payments, he became even more aggravated, the suit states.

"Wooten recommended payment of only $164.41 for entryway/foyer repairs in his report, and Plaintiff received a contractor's estimate of $4,621.07 for entryway/foyer repairs; Wooten recommended payment of only $2,421.54 for dining room repairs in his report, and Plaintiff received a contractor's estimate of $6,923.45 for dining room repairs; Wooten recommended payment of only $3,041.47 for repairs to the family room in his report, and Plaintiff received a contractor's estimate of $7,145.35 for repairs to that same room; and Wooten recommended payment of only $1,095.85 for kitchen repairs in his report; and Plaintiff received a contractor's estimate of $21,659.96 for kitchen repairs," the complaint says.

Williams alleges unfair settlement practices against Wooten, Halley and Texas Property MCO. He further alleges fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud against all the defendants. Williams alleges breach of contract; unfair settlement practices; noncompliance with Texas Insurance Code: Prompt Payment of Claims; and breach of good faith and fair dealing against Allstate.

Williams seeks actual, treble, punitive and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Michael R. Ramsey of The Mostyn Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing him.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: A186-422.

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