Jury Orders Insurer to Pay Full Fire Insurance Proceeds to Building Owner
Our client lost her business to fire. The insurer claimed that our client had intentionally set the fire to collect the insurance proceeds, disclaimed coverage and refused to pay the policy benefits.
A local teenage boy reported the fire to the fire department. He had a criminal record and a history of conflict with our client. The police and fire officials accepted his alibi, but during our investigation we discovered several witnesses who each provided a piece of evidence that collectively undermined the teen’s credibility. At the trial, we called the teen to testify after charting the other witnesses' testimony so that the jury could contrast the teen’s story and the charted evidence of the other witnesses.
The cause and origin fire experts of the insurer and State Fire Marshall’s office testified that the fire started inside the locked building. We were able to impeach that testimony and prove through photographs of the burned building that the origin of the fire was in the back, unlocked storage area to which anyone – including the local teenage boy – had access.
The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client, awarding her the full benefits of the insurance coverage.