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State Farm ordered to pay couple $183K for bad faith claim denial

A couple that was forced to live in “primitive and unacceptable living conditions” after diesel fuel was accidently poured into their basement has been awarded nearly $1.5 million. State Farm Fire and Casualty was one of the defendants in the lawsuit, and the jury agreed with the plaintiffs that the insurance company acted in bad faith.

Apparently due to negligence by the diesel fuel company, the other defendant, poured 600 gallons of fuel into the plaintiffs’ basement. The damage to the home and personal property exceeded the limit the couple had on their State Farm policy, but the company declined even to pay that amount. Later, it canceled the policy without notice, according to a news report.


In the complaint, the plaintiffs said that State Farm’s bad faith forced them to live in “primitive and unacceptable living conditions,” and caused damages like emotional distress and lost quality of life. The jury unanimously agreed that State Farm acted in bad faith and awarded the plaintiffs $183,120 in damages. The remaining $1,303,820 of the verdict was against the company that pumped the diesel fuel into the basement.

After the verdict, the couple’s attorney said he was happy for his clients. He said his clients have spent nearly three years going through “a pretty horrific ordeal.”

That is indeed a long time to have to deal with a ruined basement. Justice may be slow sometimes, but usually the person with the facts and law on their side prevails in the end -- as long as they have the right attorney on their side.

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