A mother and daughter are suing for breach of contract and negligence relating to a fire early last year. 

On January 24, 2020, the Dogwood Trace home of Juanita Hamilton caught fire. The complaint filed in Knox Circuit Court states “the property suffered a fire loss resulting in complete destruction of personal property and home located on the property.” The complaint also states that Hamilton’s daughter, Sharon Snell, obtained insurance coverage for her that was in effect at the time of the fire.

The complaint claims that the insurance company, State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Company, has not cleaned or remediated the property since the fire. 

The complaint alleges the company is in breach of contract and have refused repeated demands to comply with the policy. The complaint also argues the company is in violation of Kentucky Revised Statute 304.12-230, which deals with unfair claims settlement practices. In a third count, the complaint charges State Auto with “breach of duty to act in good faith,” stating that the company “has a duty and is obligated to act in good faith in effecting fair and reasonable settlement of the plaintiff’s claims without harassment or delay.”

Also named in the suit is Key Life Principal Brokerage. The complaint alleges that Key Life was “the insurance agent representing the interests of the plaintiffs with respect to insuring the property.” The complaint alleges that Key Life assured Snell that her policy was in good standing and that the company failed to provide required notices that the policy had been cancelled. 

In an answer to the complaint, Key Life denied any wrongdoing. “This defendant (Key Life) has always acted in good faith in any and all dealing with the plaintiffs,” the response says. 

As of press time, State Auto had not filed an answer to the complaint but did move to have the suit moved from Knox Circuit Court to the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky on February 8. No decision has been made yet in that motion.

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