Jury Awards $5.35 Million to Colorado Company for Insurance Company’s Bad Faith

May 6, 2009

After a six day jury trial in United States District Court, a jury awarded Rapid Funding LLC $5.35 million (against James River Insurance Co. for bad faith breach of onsurance contract.

According to Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., which represented Rapid Funding, the company purchased a $3 million insurance policy from James River, a Virginia-based insurance company that specializes in insuring vacant and other high risk properties, to cover a vacant apartment complex owned by Rapid Funding in Wyoming, Mich., known as Amsterdam Gardens. Rapid Funding timely paid the insurance premiums. 100 days later, one of the two towers in the complex was burned to the ground by teenagers. Rapid Funding submitted a claim for the total loss of the building under the policy.

For several months, James River asserted various reasons why they might deny coverage on the claim. James River ultimately admitted that the claim was a covered loss, but then denied any payment to Rapid Funding, claiming that despite the fact that it had insured the property for $3 million and had taken Rapid Funding’s premiums, the property was worth “less than zero” even before it burned down. As a result of the fire, the city ordered the entire complex razed.

A jury determined that James River’s conduct was willful and wanton bad faith, according to the law firm.

Rapid Funding, LLC is owned by Andrew Miller (principal in Sevo Miller, LLC) and Doug Pluss, and provides short term loans to sophisticated real estate developers and investors nationwide.
The company was also represented at trial by Thomas W. Henderson of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C.

Source: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C.

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