Insurance, injury cases on Clark's docket

By David Yates | Jul 19, 2007

Orange County Judge Pat Clark, 128th District Court, will entertain special setting requests for three different plaintiffs on Friday, July 20, possibly granting them trial dates.

1. Mark Tolson vs. Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Co. et al

Case No. A060565-c

Chateau Royale Apartments owner Mark Tolson says he repaired his complex's roof before Hurricane Rita waltzed through the Golden Triangle area. However, Tolson's insurance provider, Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Co., contends the roof was "worn out" and denied his policy claim.

Refusing to accept Acceptance's assessment, Tolson filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the insurance company, Independent Surplus Underwriters Inc. and Brezina Claims Associates Inc. with the Orange County District Court on Nov. 13, 2006.

Tolson's suit states that through its broker ISU, Acceptance hired claims adjuster Brezina. Brezina inspected Tolson's damaged property and denied his policy claim on the basis that his apartment complex's roof was "worn out" before Rita struck.

In his suit, Tolson says he submitted evidence to Acceptance proving that he had indeed repaired his roof before the disastrous storm arrived. "Acceptance rejected this evidence and maintained, through its representatives, that the entire roof needed to be replaced before coverage would exist."

Tolson and his attorney David Wenholz fault the defendants with breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, insurance code violations, Deceptive Trade Practice Act violations and negligent misrepresentation.

He is suing for actual and consequential damages, plus all court costs.

2. Brenda Richardson vs. Heritage Center of Orange

Case No. A050394-c

While walking on a Heritage Center of Orange sidewalk, Brenda Richardson slipped on a patch of mud that she claims was negligently left behind by a construction crew.

The Nov. 18, 2004, slip and fall incident allegedly caused Richardson, a resident at Heritage Center, "severe physical pain" and burdened her with unwanted mental anguish and medical expenses.

In her suit, Richardson and her Reaud, Morgan & Quinn attorney Trent Bond fault the Heritage Center with negligence for failing "to provide adequate signs" warning pedestrians that mud, if stepped in, could cause a person to slip and fall.

The suit goes on to fault the defendant for failing to "remedy the dangerous condition" and/or setting up "barriers" around the mud.

She is suing for her aforementioned inflictions, plus loss of earning capacity and all court costs.

3. Patrick Hudson vs. Farmers Insurance Exchange et al

Case No. A040181-c

A former insurance salesman seeking actual, exemplary, punitive and consequential damages claims Farmers Insurance Exchange breached its contract with him by firing him after 12 years of employment.

Patrick Hudson first signed on with Farmers back in February of 1992. According to his lawsuit, Hudson spent a decade plus of his life building relationships with his clients, "who purchased homeowner, auto and life policies through his agency."

"Farmers is aware that Hudson's income is primarily derived from commissions he earns from either sale or renewal of homeowner, auto and life insurance policies," the suit said.

On April 30, 2004, Hudson alleges Farmer's breached its contract with him by terminating their "written agent appointment agreement�without cause," the suit said.

A week later, on May 7, 2004, Hudson filed suit against Farmers and seven of its subsidiaries.

Farmer's submitted answer to Hudson's suit did not explain why Hudson's agreement was terminated.

However, documents filed with the suit suggest Hudson was blindsided with his termination and that his policies were already authorized to be reassigned to two other agents before he was let go.

Aside from breach of contract, the suit also faults Farmers with tortuous interference. "Plaintiff further alleges that the actions of Farmers were so fraudulent or malicious the law allows the imposition of exemplary or punitive damages."

Reaud, Morgan & Quinn attorney Tom Kiehnhoff represents Hudson.

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