Verdict against State Farm upheld, where State Farm sought credit for payments before cut-off
The Plaintiff's family suffered respiratory problems after a leaking toilet created a mold problem in her home. State Farm paid her initial claim, but when remediation was ineffective, it refused to pay further expenses. In Riley v. State Farm, the family brought suit against the contractor whose work was ineffective to complete remediation, and against State Farm for illegally cutting off benefits. They secured a verdict for $164,000.00 against State Farm, however, State Farm argued it should receive a credit for the amount of its initial payments.
The Court of Appeals held that State Farm's credit argument attempted to improperly deduct money that the jury had awarded the family. It found the intent of the jury to be clear: the family had proved damages for State Farm's breach of contract, commencing after the initial attempts at remediation, and that was what the jury had awarded. It would have undercut the jury's intent to give State Farm credit for the money that was paid prior to the cut-off. Some insurance people can be very creative in their accounting, but State Farm appears not to have gotten away with it this time.