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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Sep 27, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Samuel F. Robinson III, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gerald Farrar.

Attorneys 2:

Michael R. Campbell and Lauren M. Rutherford, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Michael E. Dyer and Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.

Judge(s): SUSANO

Gerald Farrar (“the Claimant”) submitted a claim under his homeowner’s insurance policy after his house was badly damaged by fire. His insurer, Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company (“the Company”) denied coverage and filed a declaratory judgment action. The Company alleged that the Claimant had made a misrepresentation on his application – one that increased the Company’s risk of loss. The Claimant filed a counterclaim in which he alleged that the Company’s agent, Michael E. Dyer (“the Agent”), misled him about the meaning of question 13 on the application, the answer to which contains the alleged misrepresentation. Following a bench trial, the court found in favor of the Company and dismissed the Claimant’s counterclaim predicated on the Claimant’s failure to carry the burden of proof. We affirmed the trial court’s judgment in Tennessee Farmers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Farrar, 337 S.W.3d 829 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2009) (“Farrar I”). The Claimant then filed this action against the Agent alleging that the Agent made a misrepresentation about the meaning of question 13 that caused him to give an incorrect answer on the application. The complaint also named the Company as a defendant “principal” responsible for the Agent’s actions. The trial court dismissed the case on summary judgment, holding that Farrar I is a bar to this second action. The Claimant appeals. We affirm.