Doctor sues insurer after break in

Kelly Holleran Nov. 10, 2010, 3:20am

A Beaumont doctor claims he has been unable to recover the entire amount of damages he seeks from his insurance company after vandals stole items from his business.

American Med-Consulting and Dr. Tuhin Chaudhuri filed a lawsuit Nov. 4 in Jefferson County District Court against Truck Insurance Exchange, Farmers Group and Matt Purgahn.

American Med-Consulting and Dr. Chaudhuri claim they purchased an insurance policy through agent Purgahn to protect and cover their building and its contents at 4010 College St. in Beaumont.

The policy should have been in effect when thieves broke into, vandalized and stole property from the medical offices on Nov. 5, 2008, according to the complaint. However, Chaudhuri has only been able to recover a portion of his claim, the suit states.

The plaintiffs allege the defendants violated the Texas Insurance Code by making misrepresentations to them regarding their coverage, by committing unfair settlement practices and by failing to provide a reasonable explanation for the underpayment of the claim.

In addition, the defendants failed to affirm or deny coverage within a reasonable time and refused the plaintiffs' claim without a reasonable investigation, the complaint says.

Truck Insurance Exchange and Farmers Group breached their contract with the plaintiffs, failed to promptly pay the plaintiffs' claim and breached their duty of good faith and fair dealing, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs name Pugahn as a defendant because they say he made false representations that he could procure coverage for them, made them believe that he had skills that could provide them with coverage when he did not and engaged in an unconscionable action by making the plaintiffs believe he had procured them with coverage when he had not.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs seek an amount equal to their claim, plus three times their actual damages, compensatory damages, 18 percent interest, exemplary damages, attorneys' fees and costs.

Clay Dugas and Mike Jacobellis of Beaumont will be representing them.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E188-743

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