Kerry Lynn Rhoads recently won a recent federal appellate court decision in a homeowner’s insurance coverage matter involving questions of residency and “business purpose.”
The dispute was over a fire loss that destroyed the Plaintiff’s home in Metro-Detroit. Following the fire, Plaintiff presented a near $200,000 claim to her insurer.
However, a coverage investigation, including an Examination Under Oath conducted by Kerry, revealed that Plaintiff was not occupying the home and was residing out of state at the time of the fire (and for a time period leading up to it). Rather, she had a friend, who was paying rent, residing at the home. As such, the claim was denied and Plaintiff filed suit.
Following discovery, which confirmed the coverage investigation, Kerry filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that Plaintiff was not residing on the residence premises and/or was using the premises for a “business purpose.”
The District Court Judge agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Kerry's client. Plaintiff then appealed the matter to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following briefing and oral argument, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment ruling finding in favor of the insurer on both the residency issue and “business purpose” issue.