In this appeal, Wilfred C. La Haye challenges the jury's determination of damages caused by Allstate Insurance Company, (hereafter Allstate). Specifically, Wilfred challenges the amount of damages attributable to Allstate policyholder negligence. Wilfred seeks to have a portion of these damages restored to his policyholder's policy for breach of warranty.
At the time of the incident, Wilfred had not had a policy renewal with Allstate. However, prior to the fire, Wilfred had maintained an active account at Allstate under which he made premium payments and had access to the insurer's financial resources.
During the time of the fire, Wilfred was at home working on his computer when his mother called him to say that the house was on fire. He rushed to the scene and found smoke pouring from a couch and couches, but nothing else was affected. When he reached the kitchen, however, he found that one wall had collapsed and his mother's body was in flames. He tried to save her but was unsuccessful. Because of his proximity to the fire and his knowledge of the dangers of living in a house next to a house full of hot smoke, Wilfred was entitled to file a claim for negligence in the policy of Allstate. His claim, however, was denied by the insurer's counsel.
Wilfred also challenges the amount of compensatory damages awarded to him by the jury. After the fire, Wilfred discovered that his belongings, including his personal computer, were worth substantially less than what he had previously paid in policy premiums. In addition, because of the damage that had been caused to his house and belongings during the fire, he lost the use of the home's basement and attic, as well as his personal garage.
The jury assessed the total amount of damage Wilfred was entitled to obtain from Allstate, based on the sum of money he had paid in premiums for the past two years. In addition, the jury assessed damages for actual damages, which included the value of the contents of his house. and of other property in the home, the fair market value of his house, the value of the contents of his car, and other items. and the fair market value of other property. that belonged to Wilfred. Wilfred argues that the jury erred in determining that his losses were related to the fire alone, and that he was not entitled to recover for loss of use of his house and the value of his possessions after the fire.
Wilfred contends that he was entitled to recover for loss of use of his house due to the fire, but not for loss of use of his property due to the policyholder's negligence. He also contends that he was not entitled to recover for his car. He claims that the jury failed to consider the fact that his loss was related to a fire caused by the defendant's failure to provide adequate fire protection for the premises. He also contends that he should have been aware of Allstate's liability policy and that he was not liable for the loss of use of the house's basement and attic because the premises did not fall under its policy. In addition, Wilfred contends that he should have been aware of Allstate's policyholder's liability coverage limits and should not have been expected to . . . . . . pay the maximum policyholder's limit on policy premiums. for any loss, irrespective of the loss caused by a fire. In the alternative, he claims that the trial court should have given the jury discretion to decide whether he was a policyholder liable for loss or damage to the contents of his home or property, because his claims of entitlement to compensation for such losses were not clearly established.