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Meyers v. Farmers Aid Association of Loudon County

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 9, 2014

LLOYD L. MEYERS
v.
FARMERS AID ASSOCIATION OF LOUDON COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Session Date October 01, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Loudon County No. 2013CV44 Russell E. Simmons, Jr., Judge

Christopher Dunn Heagerty, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Farmers Aid Association of Loudon County, Tennessee

A. Wayne Henry, for the appellee, Lloyd L. Meyers

Kenny Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which D. Michael Swiney, J., and J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., joined.

OPINION

KENNY ARMSTRONG, JUDGE

I. Background

On or about Oct. 11, 2010, Lloyd L. Meyers ("Appellee") purchased a homeowner's insurance policy from Farmers Aid Association of Loudon County, Tennessee ("FAA, " or "Appellant"). The policy insured Mr. Meyers's property at 2242 Davis Ferry Rd, Loudon, Tennessee. The following provisions of that policy are at issue in the instant appeal:

When loss payable. The amount of loss for which the Company may be liable shall be payable sixty days after proof of loss, as herein provided, is received by this Company and ascertainment of the loss is made either by agreement between the insured and this Company expressed in writing or by the filing with this Company of an award as herein provided.
Suit. No suit or action on this policy for the recovery of any claim shall be sustainable in any court of law or equity unless all the requirements of this policy shall have been complied with, and unless commenced within twelve months next after inception of the loss.

On or about September 14, 2011, a fire destroyed Mr. Meyers's property. Mr. Meyers notified FAA of the loss, and FAA acknowledged the loss in a letter to Mr. Meyers dated September 14, 2011. Subsequently, on November 15, 2011, Mr. Meyers submitted a sworn proof of loss. FAA did not respond to his proof of loss and took no further action with respect to his claim.

On March 12, 2013, more than a year and a half after he filed his proof of loss, Mr. Meyers filed suit against FAA in the Circuit Court of Loudon County. In his complaint, in addition to his compensatory damages claim, Mr. Meyers sought bad faith damages and punitive damages against FAA under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. FAA answered the complaint on April 4, 2013 and on April 11, 2013 moved for summary judgment, asserting that Mr. Meyers's suit was barred by the contractual limitations period contained in the policy. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment. In its memorandum opinion, the trial court reasoned that FAA's failure to ascertain the loss after Mr. Meyers filed his proof of loss tolled the contractual limitations period. Accordingly, the trial court held that Mr. Meyers's suit was not time barred. On October 3, 2013 FAA filed a motion to reconsider the denial of its motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative, a motion for interlocutory review.

The trial court denied the motion to reconsider but granted the motion for interlocutory appeal. This Court granted the ...


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