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RIDGE v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 28, 2019

VILLAS AT WINDING RIDGE, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM FIRE & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ENTRY ON PENDING MOTIONS DKT. NO. 80, 118, AND 135

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         This matter involves an insurance policy dispute between Plaintiff Villas at Winding Ridge (“Winding Ridge”) and Defendant State Farm Fire & Casualty Company's (“State Farm”). This Entry addresses ancillary motions associated with pending cross-motions for summary judgment. Before the Court is Winding Ridge's Motion to Strike State Farm's Appraisal Defense (Filing No. 80), State Farm's Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Cross Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Filing No. 118), and Winding Ridge's Motion to Supplement Plaintiff's Designation of Evidence in Support of Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and in Opposition to State Farm's Motion for Summary Judgment (Filing No. 135).

         For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion to Strike State Farm's Appraisal Defense is denied. State Farm's Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Cross Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is denied. Winding Ridge's Motion to Supplement Plaintiff's Designation of Evidence in Support of Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and in Opposition to State Farm's Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.

         A separate order resolving the remaining motions in this case will follow.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, State Farm was the insurer of Villas at Winding Ridge, a condominium complex comprised of 33 buildings on the northeast side of Indianapolis, Indiana. In the Spring of 2013, the Villas at Winding Ridge suffered extensive damage from a hail and wind storm that passed overhead. Winding Ridge submitted an insurance claim to State Farm to recover the costs of replacing damaged roofs. Each party selected an appraiser to provide an estimate of the loss amount. The appraisers could not agree on the amount of loss Winding Ridge incurred from the storm. At issue was whether certain roofing shingles could be replaced or whether new roofs were required. Winding Ridge's Residential Community Association Policy (the “Policy”) contained a provision whereby the parties could select an umpire to resolve their differing appraisals of the damage. Because the appraisers could not agree, Winding Ridge and State Farm mutually selected an umpire. The umpire adjusted upward the award State Farm had already paid, but only slightly (relative to the amount Winding Ridge sought) and did not find that State Farm's agreement obligated it to replace any of the roofs in the complex.

         Winding Ridge was unhappy with the umpire's determination and award. It filed this action alleging (1) breach of contract, (2) bad faith, and (3) promissory estoppel. Among other things, Winding Ridge asserts the umpire had a relationship with a State Farm employee which was not disclosed during the selection process, the umpire had a “cozy relationship” with State Farm's appraiser, and the umpire wrongfully attempted to distinguish between shingles that were functionally damaged and those that were cosmetically damaged. Winding Ridge further alleges the umpire's award did not consider that merely replacing certain damaged shingles was not an option because the shingles on the roofs at Winding Ridge are no longer manufactured. As a result, the use of replacement shingles would not create a uniform appearance. Thus, Winding Ridge argued, State Farm is required to adjust the umpire's award upward and pay for full roof replacement on any roofs which the umpire ordered them to pay for individual shingle replacement. Additional facts are provided as necessary.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Winding Ridge's Motion to Strike Defendant State Farm Fire & Casualty Company's Appraisal Defense (Filing No. 80)

         In its Answer to Winding Ridge's Complaint, State Farm listed six affirmative defenses:

1. Winding Ridge's claim for breach of contract fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because Winding Ridge filed the above captioned lawsuit beyond the time period set forth in Winding Ridge's State Farm policy.
2. Winding Ridge's claim for Bad Faith fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
3. Winding Ridge's claim for promissory estoppel fails to state a claim upon which ...

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