Court Of Appeals Rules In Favor Of Harper | Hayes Client In First-Party Property Damage Lawsuit

Harper | Hayes PLLC client Henry Seaman owns an apartment building in North Seattle. After discovering severe decay damage hidden beneath the apartment’s siding, Mr. Seaman notified his property insurer, Farmers. Farmers denied Mr. Seaman’s claim. Mr. Seaman filed a lawsuit against Farmers seeking a ruling that the plain language of the Farmers policies cover damage rising to the level of “collapse,” even if the damage was caused by negligent construction. Farmers defended by claiming that its policies contain an alleged “typographical error” which, if corrected, would not provide the coverage sought by Mr. Seaman. The trial court ruled in favor of Farmers. Mr. Seaman appealed. In Seaman v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, Division One of Washington’s Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of Farmers and entered partial summary judgment in favor of Mr. Seaman. In so ruling, the appellate court rejected Farmers’ “typographical error” defense and agreed with Mr. Seaman’s interpretation of the policies’ language. The appellate court also ordered a trial on the questions of whether Farmers’ failure to bring the alleged “typographical error” to Mr. Seaman’s attention when it denied the claim constituted bad faith claims handling and violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. The Court’s decision is accessible via the following link:

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