In federal court in Tennessee last week, a jury found in favor of Phelps Dunbar client Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company concluding that the insurer did not breach its contract with shopping center owner Tenalok Partners Ltd. by repeatedly denying a multi-million dollar commercial property damage claim.
The plaintiff alleged that multiple shopping center locations in Memphis sustained significant roof damage due to a 2011 wind storm. The insurer’s roofing consultants and engineers conducted several inspections and found only minimal storm-related damage, and the insurer, after paying for the minimal damage, denied the rest of the plaintiff’s claim. Tenalok Partners Ltd. sued Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company for breach of contract and bad faith in 2013, and the first trial in November of 2014 resulted in a mistrial after four days.
After a six-day trial in January, the jury returned a defense verdict after only 30 minutes of deliberation finding that Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company had fully paid for all wind damage and that it had not breached the contract of insurance. Thus, Tenalok’s claims of bad faith were not considered by the jury.