Failure to disclose fuse box not grounds for denying claim - $310,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly
September 29, 2008

Rockingham filed declaratory judgment action to avoid coverage on the basis of alleged material misrepresentations in the application for insurance. The alleged misrepresentations centered on a denial in the application that the home was equipped with fuses as opposed to circuit breakers. A fire had started in the fuse-box panel. Homeowners had filed a suit seeking damages for breach of contract.

The parties agreed on the damages and a trial was had on whether coverage was required. Ultimately, the court determined that although the representations were false, the homeowner was not aware of the representations made even though they had signed the application. In this case, an independent agent for Rockingham had completed the application and the court found in the homeowners favor on the basis of Gilley v Union Life Insurance, 194 Va 966 (1953). Rockingham has notice an appeal which is pending.


Type of Action: Breach of contract/declaratory judgment
Injuries Alleged: Failure by homeowner carrier to provide coverage after total loss/fire damage
Name of Case: Rockingham Mutual v. Randalls / Randalls v. Rockingham Mutual
Court: Portsmouth Circuit Court
Case No.: 07-2604/07-1442
Verdict Date: July 23, 2008 and Aug 8, 2008
Tried Before: Judge
Name of Judge: James C. Hawks
Demand: $310,000
Offer: 0
Verdict/Settlement: Verdict
Amount: $310,000
Special Damages: Approximately $310,000
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Gregory S. Larsen and Kevin M. Kennedy, Chesapeake