Utah Man Accused of Killing Officer Sues Insurer

January 15, 2013

An Ogden, Utah, man accused of killing a police officer during a drug raid at his home is suing his insurance company over its rejection of his homeowner’s damage claim stemming from the shootout.

Matthew Stewart, in his complaint filed Jan. 4 in 2nd District Court, says Farmers Insurance Group estimated $8,411 in damage to his bullet-riddled home but only paid $3,321.

Stewart, 38, has been charged with capital murder and seven counts of attempted aggravated murder in the Jan. 4, 2012 shootout that killed Ogden Officer Jared Francom and wounded five others. He remains in the Weber County Jail.

“We wanted to get the insurance company in there to get it all cleaned up so we can get it on the market or get someone in there,” Stewart’s lawyer, Emily Swenson, told the Deseret News.

Farmers maintains biohazard cleanup of the blood-stained home is not covered in Stewart’s policy, Ogden’s Standard-Examiner reported.

“As indicated, there is coverage for damage to the structure of the home due to bullet holes and forced entry by police,” reads a letter from the insurance company included in the suit. “Unfortunately the cleanup of biohazard materials are (sic) excluded under the policy.

“For that reason, the policy is unable to pay for any damage by or any cleanup of any biohazard materials. Also, damage to personal property by bullets or projectiles is not a named peril under the policy.”

The shootout is considered an intentional act, Farmers spokesman Mark Toohey said, and claims resulting from such acts are not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies. Criminal acts can be considered intentional acts, Toohey added.

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