United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Redeemed Christian Church of God Strong Tower Parish, Plaintiff,
Auto-Owners Insurance Company, Defendant.
Christina Phillips, for Plaintiff.
Alton, for Defendant.
FRANKLIN L. NOEL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MATTER came before the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge on Plaintiff's motion to amend the
complaint and state a statutory claim (ECF No. 31). For the
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is
Redeemed Christian Church of God Strong Tower Parish operates
a church sanctuary, built in 1894, located at 697 13th Avenue
Northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota. ECF No. 39, Ex. A.
Defendant Auto-Owners Insurance Company is a Michigan
headquartered insurance company. ECF No. 1. On April 26,
2017, Plaintiff commenced this diversity action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332, raising a breach of contract claim.
Id. In the instant motion, Plaintiff seeks the
court's leave to amend its Complaint to claim recovery of
taxable costs and attorney's fees under Minn. Stat.
3, 2015, large hail and wind gusts damaged the roof and other
portions of the exterior of Plaintiff's church sanctuary.
See ECF No. 1. At the time of the hail storm,
Plaintiff was insured under a property insurance policy
issued by Defendant (“the policy”) with a policy
term of September 25, 2014, through September 25, 2015. ECF
No. 39, Ex. 1. Generally, the policy provided commercial
property coverage and commercial generally liability
coverage. Id. Under the policy's
“Coverage” provision, Defendant is obligated to
“pay for direct physical loss of or damage to Covered
Property at the premises.” Id. at 10. Under
the policy's “Exclusion” provision, Defendant
“will not pay for loss or damage caused directly or
indirectly by . . . [w]ear and tear; . . . [r]ust, corrosion,
decay, deterioration, hidden or latent defect or any quality
in [the] property that causes it to damage or destroy
itself.” Id. at 24.
18, 2015, Plaintiff submitted a policy claim to Defendant to
cover the damage related to the hail storm. ECF No. 39, Ex.
2. At the April 30, 2018, hearing, Defendant represented that
it used an independent insurance adjuster, Cunningham
Lindsey, to initially investigate Plaintiff's claim, and
at Cunningham Lindsey's suggestion, Defendant retained
Haag Engineering (“Haag”) to inspect
Plaintiff's storm related damage. On August 11, 2015,
Haag inspected Plaintiff's storm damage, and on September
11, 2015, provided a written report of its findings. ECF No.
34, Ex. 3.
1. Shingles had been displaced from the roof by wind forces.
There was approximately 70 square feet on the north slopes,
about 105 square feet on the east slope, and approximately 25
square feet on the south and west slopes of missing and torn
shingles that were consistent with the effects of wind on the
Redeemed Christian Church roof.
2. The age and deterioration of the shingles, extent and
pattern of missing and torn shingles, and previous repairs
indicates that it is highly likely that displacement and
tearing of shingles occurred from more than one wind event
and was exacerbated by improper installation.
3. There were approximately 6 hail-damaged shingles per
square on the north slopes, and over 40 hail-damaged shingles
per square on the west slopes on the Redeemed Christian
4. We cannot rule out wind or hail as a cause for a water
leak in the roof at the northeast building corner. We
observed no hail- or wind-caused damage to the low-sloped
roof, including the area of reported leakage; however, there
were opened seams that created non-watertight conditions[.]
5. The water leak at the southwest building corner occurred
below the HVAC RTU with ponding water. There was no wind- or