Chafin v. Farmers & Mechanics Mut. Ins. Co. of W. Va.

Petitioner's decedent, Freda Bradley, purchased a named perils homeowners insurance policy from Farmers and Mechanics Mutual Insurance Company of West Virginia (Farmers). Bradley filed a claim under the policy for damage to her kitchen and bathroom floor. Farmers denied the claim citing a policy exclusion for water damage below the surface of the ground, fungi, wet or dry rot, or bacteria. Bradley filed a complaint against Farmers alleging several causes of action stemming from Farmers' denial of coverage under an insurance policy Bradley had purchased from Farmers. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Farmers, concluding (1) damage done to Bradley's kitchen floor did not constitute a "collapse" as required by the policy; and (2) the alleged collapse was not caused by "hidden decay." Petitioner appealed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court erred in finding that the term "collapse" in the insurance policy was not ambiguous and that Bradley's kitchen floor did not collapse; and (2) whether Bradley should have known that decay was causing her kitchen floor to sink was a genuine issue of material fact to be decided by a jury. Remanded. View "Chafin v. Farmers & Mechanics Mut. Ins. Co. of W. Va." on Justia Law