United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
KATHLEEN KAY MAG. JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
[Doc. No. 15] filed by Defendants American Bankers Insurance
Company (“American Bankers”) and HomeFirst
Agency, Inc. (“HFA”). Defendants move for summary
judgment on Plaintiffs Joe Pentacost, Jr., and Charlotte
Pentacost's claims for bad faith damages, including their
claim for Mr. Pentacost's personal injuries and Mrs.
Pentacost's derivative loss of consortium claim.
Plaintiffs oppose summary judgment.
following reasons, Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment is GRANTED, and Plaintiffs' claims for bad faith
damages are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Bankers issued Homeowners Plus Program Policy No. 21H0018773
(“the Policy”) to Mr. Pentecost with coverage for
insured property located at 109 S. Green Street, DeQuincy,
Louisiana 70633, according to its terms. The Policy limits
are $66, 870.00 for damages sustained to the insured
dwelling, $6, 700.00 for outbuildings/adjacent structures,
and $26, 800.00 for personal effects.
about December 20, 2017, a windstorm occurred, damaging the
Pentacosts' manufactured home and property. The
Pentacosts reported the claim, and it was assigned Claim No.
201731370. On or about the same date, American Bankers sent a
request to Mr. Pentacost for a Personal Effects Summary Sheet
to be returned by January 3, 2018, listing “each
damaged item along with the original date and place of
purchase, and proof of ownership.” [Doc. No. 15-8, Exh.
managed the claim for American Bankers. HFA retained adjuster
Kevin Ferguson of Cross Country Adjusting. On December 27,
2017, Mr. Ferguson inspected the property. He issued a report
and estimate two days later, on December 29, 2017. Mr.
Ferguson estimated repairs in the amount of $18, 021.54,
including a full roof replacement and repairs to the ceilings
of the home for water damage.
reviewed the report and estimate and requested a modification
for unrepaired damage from previous Claim No. 201204249, with
a date of loss of March 20, 2012. On January 11, 2018, Mr.
Ferguson submitted an amended report and estimate, deleting
sheetrock repairs to the ceiling in the hallway and utility
room because this damage was documented in the
Pentacosts' 2012 claim and had not been repaired. The
amended estimate was for $17, 832.37, a reduction of $189.17
from the original estimate.
about January 9, 2018, American Bankers prepared a check for
the damage to the fence and other structures for the Policy
limits of $6, 700.00.
January 12, 2018, based on Mr. Ferguson's amended
estimate, American Bankers paid $17, 832.37. HFA's claim
notes, Mr. Pentacost did not agree with “scope”
of the paid claim, and he was advised to submit a
contractor's estimate for supplemental damages, along
with pictures and to protect the home as well. [Doc. No.
15-3, Exh. J].
that time and February 23, 2018, there appear to have been
several calls between Mr. Pentacost and HFA.
two weeks of the storm, Mr. Pentacost avers that he noticed
mold and mildew on his walls. By February 1, 2018, he avers
that he “began feeling ill” and that he
“did not have this type of illness prior to the
December 20, 2017 storm.” [Doc. No. 17-2, Affidavit of
Joe Pentacost, Jr., ¶ 8]. He contends that “[a]s a
result of the mold exposure, ” he was
“hospitalized and required significant treatment”
and that “several medical providers related to this
illness . . . have informed me that the presence of mold and
mildew is the likely cause of my illness.” Id.
at ¶ 9. He claims that he now has “to use an
oxygen tank to assist . . . with breathing.”
about January 30, 2018, according to claim notes, it appears
that Mr. Pentacost advised HFA of damage to his walls from
water, and the adjuster then advised him to submit estimate
and pictures for additional damages.
February 8, 2018, Defendants again requested that the
Pentacosts submit a Personal Effects Summary Sheet by
February 22, 2018. The Pentacosts did not do so and have not
done so since.
Pentacosts retained Landry's Construction to repair the
insured property. The Pentacosts' receipts and invoices
show that Landry's Construction commenced repairs on or
about February 2, 2018, and concluded on or about April 1,
2018. However, these receipts and invoices were not provided
to Defendants at that time.
March 2018, the Pentacosts had “an issue with the [air
conditioning] unit the first time [they] attempted use the
unit following the storm.” [Doc. No. 17-2, Pentacost
Aff., ¶ 5]. Copies of invoices from the air conditioning
repair person indicated that “the unit had been slid
over far enough to break the seal.” [Doc. No. 17-3;
Doc. No. 17-2, Pentacost Aff., ¶ 5]. Mr. Pentacost
claims the repair person “related” the movement
of the unit to the storm. [Doc. No. 17-2, Pentacost Aff.,
¶ 5]. No. such relation is noted on the invoices.
October 22, 2018, the Pentacosts reported a new claim, Claim
No. 201827206, with a stated loss date of July 3, 2018,
relating to the floor being soft. On November 4, 2018,
adjuster Timothy Ste. Marie of Cross Country Adjusting
inspected the property. At that time, the Pentacosts claimed
the floors were saturated during the December 2017 windstorm
which caused them to become soft and buckle. However, Mr.
Ste. Marie determined that “exposed insulation to
underbelly” allowed condensation to form, which caused
the sub-floor to become soft and buckle over time.
about November 20, 2018, HFA received a telephone call from
Mr. Pentecost indicating that the damages to the interior of
his home should have been covered because there ...