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Darmer v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 6, 2018

STEVEN DARMER, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant.

          Edward E. Beckmann, HELLMUTH & JOHNSON PLLC, for plaintiff.

          Michelle D. Christensen and Scott G. Williams, HKM LAW GROUP, for defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff Steven Darmer brings this insurance action against Defendant State Farm and Casualty Company (“State Farm”) seeking an order compelling appraisal and a judgment awarding the amount of loss determined by the appraiser. Magistrate Judge Katherine Menendez issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the Court deny Darmer's Motion to Compel Appraisal. The Court has independently reviewed the files, records, and proceedings. Because the Court concludes that a genuine issue of material fact exists with respect to whether Darmer has satisfied his “duties after loss” under the Policy, the Court will deny Darmer's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In November 2016, a fire damaged Darmer's residence. (Decl. of Steve Darmer ¶ 2, Nov. 16, 2017, Docket No. 12.) Darmer filed a claim with his insurer, State Farm. (Aff. of Jene Jenkins-Jones (“Jenkins-Jones Aff.”) ¶¶ 2-6, Dec. 7, 2017, Docket No. 18.)

         A. The Policy

         Darmer has a homeowners-insurance policy with State Farm. (Decl. of Troy D. Brown ¶ 14, Ex. N (“Policy”) at 98, Nov. 16, 2017, Docket No. 14-4.) Three provisions of the Policy are relevant to the current motion:

2. Your Duties After Loss. After a loss to which this insurance may apply, you shall see that the following duties are performed:
a. give immediate notice to us or our agent. . .;
c. prepare an inventory of damaged or stolen personal property. Show in detail the quantity, description age, replacement cost and amount of loss. Attach to the inventory all bills, receipts and related documents that substantiate the figures in the inventory;
d. as often as we reasonably require:
(1) exhibit the damaged property;
(2) provide us with records and documents we request and permit us to make copies;
(3) submit to and subscribe, while not in the presence of any other insured:
(a) statements; and
(b) examinations under oath; and
(4) produce employees, members of the insured's household or others for examination under oath to the extent it is within the insured's power to do so; and
e. submit to us, within 60 days after the loss, your signed, sworn proof of loss which sets forth, to the best of your knowledge and belief: (1) the ...

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