BRANDI BURGE, ET AL. v. FARMERS MUTUAL OF TENNESSEE - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Apr 13, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Christopher Dunn Heagerty, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Farmers Mutual of Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

Russell Anne Swafford, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellees, Brandi Burge, Daniel Layne, and Sharon Layne.

Judge(s): GIBSON

This appeal involves an insurer’s refusal to pay a claim for a fire loss. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on the issue of liability and held a bench trial on the issue of damages only. The trial court ultimately awarded the plaintiffs $127,500 for their covered losses, prejudgment interest, and a statutory penalty because the insurer’s refusal to pay the claim was not in good faith. On appeal, the insurer argues that the plaintiffs are not entitled to any recovery because they failed to sufficiently prove their damages. The insurer also contends that it did not act in bad faith because it had substantial legal grounds for denying the claim. The plaintiffs argue that the trial court should have awarded additional damages. We conclude that the trial court should have awarded $4,000 in additional damages for the loss of the residence but otherwise affirm the trial court’s judgment as modified.

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