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Farm Bureau avoids paying for fire damage

Terrence Barr's home in Genessee County and Farm Bureau, his insurer, refused to provide the coverage he had paid for.  Barr had been unemployed for several months, the home was in foreclosure, and  Farm Bureau believed that Barr had a "guilty connection" to the fire.  Even though authorities found no evidence of use of an accellerant in the fire,  the fire consultant hired by Farm Bureau concluded from his examination of the burn pattern that an accelerant had been used.  When Barr sued, Farm Bureau presented these circumstances to the jury and achieved a verdict that it was not required to honor its insurance contract.

Barr appealed, arguing that  Farm Bureau's expert wtiness should not have been allowed to testify because his conclusion regarding accelerants violated the standards adopted by the National Fire Protection Association: it rejected any conclusion about incendiary use based solely on the analysis of burn patterns. The Court of Appeals upheld the admission of the expert's testimony because he testified that he had ruled out all explanations other than accelerants for the burn pattern.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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