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White v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 6, 2015

A. C. WHITE,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY AND THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM, Section:

ORDER AND REASONS

MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON, District Judge.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendant, Allstate Insurance Company (Doc. #28) is GRANTED, and plaintiff's claim against it is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

BACKGROUND

This matter is before the court on a motion for summary judgment filed by Allstate Insurance Company, in its capacity as a Write-Your-Own ("WYO") insurance carrier participating in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's ("FEMA") National Flood Insurance Program ("NFIP"). Allstate argues that it is entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claim for a supplemental payment under his flood insurance policy because plaintiff did not submit a timely proof of loss supporting the supplemental claim.

Plaintiff, A. C. White, owns a home in LaPlace, Louisiana that sustained flood damage on August 29, 2012, as a result of Hurricane Isaac. At the time of the loss, the property was covered by a flood insurance policy issued by Allstate that had the effective period of November 4, 2011, to November 4, 2012; provided building coverage of $200, 000 and contents coverage of $80, 000, both with a $1, 000 deductible; and, bore policy number XXXXXXXXXX.

After the storm, Margaret Schuster, an independent adjustor from Advanced Adjusting Ltd., inspected plaintiff's property on Allstate's behalf. Based upon the adjustors inspection of plaintiff's property, plaintiff signed a proof of loss for building damage in the amount of $43, 267.89, and a proof of loss for lost contents in the amount of $10, 582.65. Allstate paid those claims in full.

Thereafter, plaintiff hired Michaelson and Messinger Insurance Specialists, LLC, an independent insurance adjustor, to reinspect his property damage. Rich Franco did the inspection. On June August 21, 2013, Michalson forwarded Franco's report to Allstate requesting that a supplemental claim be opened and a reinspection of the property. There was no proof of loss statement signed by plaintiff submitted with this report, and plaintiff did not sign the report.

On August 28, 2013, plaintiff filed this action against Allstate seeking additional payment under his flood insurance policy. Allstate filed the instant motion for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff cannot sustain a claim for additional damages under his flood insurance policy because he did not submit a timely signed and sworn proof of loss to Allstate supporting that claim.

ANALYSIS

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the "court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Granting a motion for summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and affidavits filed in support of the motion demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509-10 (1986). The court must find "[a] factual dispute... [to be] genuine' if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party... [and a] fact... [to be] material' if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing substantive law." Beck v. Somerset Techs., Inc., 882 F.2d 993, 996 (5th Cir. 1989) (citing Anderson, 106 S.Ct. at 2510).

If the moving party meets the initial burden of establishing that there is no genuine issue, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to produce evidence of the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Celeotex Corp. v. Catrett, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986). The non-movant cannot satisfy the summary judgment burden with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of evidence. Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc). If the opposing party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party does not have to submit evidentiary documents to properly support its motion, but need only point out the absence of evidence supporting the essential elements of the opposing party's case. Saunders v. Michelin Tire Corp., 942 F.2d 299, 301 (5th Cir. 1991).

B. Allstate's Motion for Summary Judgment

Allstate argues that it is entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claim under the flood insurance policy because plaintiff failed to comply with the proof of loss requirement ...


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