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ARTICLE ID 35698

$________ INCLUDING $________ PUNITIVE AWARD First-party insurance claim - Bad faith denial of claim for weather related roof damage.

Montgomery County

This was a first-party insurance claim brought by the plaintiff, a corporate owner of commercial property, against the defendant insurance company. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant acted in bad faith in denying its $________ claim for roof damage caused by sudden cold weather. The defendant maintained that the damage to the roof of the plaintiff’s building was caused by wear and tear and a latent defect which was excluded from coverage under the terms of the policy.

The plaintiff claimed that approximately one-fifth of the polyvinyl chloride (plastic) roof of his commercial building shattered in a sudden cold snap which occurred in January of ________. The plaintiff’s roofer testified that the roof damage cost $________ to repair. The plaintiff contended that the damage was caused by a sudden onset of cold weather, a covered peril, yet a claim for the loss was wrongfully denied by the defendant insurance company without a reasonable basis for such a denial.

The defendant’s materials expert opined that the roof of the plaintiff’s building, which was 11 to 15 years old, became brittle from exposure and lost its elasticity. The roof contracted because of the cold, lacked elasticity because it was so old and, therefore, shattered, according to the defendant’s expert.

The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded compensatory damages of $________. The judge then awarded $________ in punitive damages based on the jury’s finding that the defendant acted in bad faith in denying the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff was also awarded attorneys fees and costs.

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