JOANN STRUEBING, J & E ENTERPRISES, and EL-WAYNE, INC., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
ADDISON INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, John J.
Struebing, J & E Enterprises, and El-Wayne, Inc. appeal a
district court declaratory ruling. AFFIRMED.
C. Larew of Larew Law Office, Iowa City, for appellant.
Stephen E. Doohen of Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C., Des
Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Struebing, J & E Enterprises, and El-Wayne, Inc.
(collectively referred to as Struebing) sued Addison
Insurance Company claiming property damage by fire and
subsequent property damage by rain constituted two separate
losses under an insurance policy and arguing Addison wrongly
applied the policy term "Actual Cash Value" (ACV)
when it paid for the loss. Struebing appeals contending the
district court erred in (1) concluding the two purportedly
separate casualty losses constituted only one covered cause
of loss under her insurance policy and therefore denying her
breach-of-contract claim and (2) defining ACV to mean market
was the owner of a multi-unit apartment complex. Addison
issued a policy insuring the property against casualty loss;
the policy limit on the structure itself was just over $320,
000, and the term of the relevant policy ran from June 1,
2012, through June 1, 2013. On April 7, 2013, a fire occurred
in the upper level of the building. In order to extinguish
the fire, firefighters were required to cut a hole in the
roof. Eight of the apartment units in the complex, all on the
upper floor, and some of the common areas were damaged by the
filed a claim with Addison. Temporary repairs were made to
the roof, and a contractor recommended replacement of the
entire roof. In late April, Struebing contracted with a
roofing company to have the roof replaced. Addison's
adjuster directed Struebing to hold off on replacing the roof
pending its full assessment of the damage.
25 and 26, the geographic area where the property was located
experienced "torrential rains." The
temporarily-repaired roof succumbed to the rainfall and the
entire building suffered water damage.
subsequently assessed the damage resulting from the April 7
fire as a total loss. Addison had the property appraised, and
an appraiser concluded the property's value just before
the fire to be $254, 000.00. On June 4, Addison paid
Struebing the entire appraisal amount. Addison denied
Struebing's subsequent attempts to receive a separate
payout for damage caused by the rainstorm, maintaining both
occurrences amounted to a single covered cause of loss under
the insurance policy.
April 7, 2014, Struebing filed suit, alleging breach of
contract and bad faith on the part of Addison. Struebing
filed an amended petition in November 2015 additionally
seeking a declaratory judgment that the fire and rain damage
amounted to two separate covered causes of loss, thus
entitling her to a second payout under the policy. In its
answer to the amended petition, Addison counter-claimed for a
declaratory judgment that only one covered loss existed and
the property's market value should be used to value the
March 2016, Struebing moved for partial summary judgment on
the issue of number of covered causes of loss. Shortly
thereafter, Addison also moved for partial summary judgment
on the issues of valuation and number of covered causes of
loss. In April, Struebing moved for the appointment of an
appraisal umpire to serve on an appraisal panel for the
purpose of valuation of the loss or losses. See Iowa
Code § 515.109(6)(a) (2014) (requiring fire- insurance
contracts to contain a provision regarding appointment of
appraisal panel and umpire). In June, the district court
entered a declaratory ruling and concluded, (1) based on
"the policy language and applicable law, the rain damage
must be considered as part of the original fire
occurrence" and (2) the property's market value
should be used for purposes of valuation. The court also
appointed an appraisal umpire and granted Addison summary
judgment on Struebing's bad-faith claim. Struebing
applied for an interlocutory appeal of this ruling, but the
supreme court denied her application.
November, the appraisal panel, which consisted of the umpire
and two appraisers, submitted its appraisal to the court. The
panel concluded, "The fair market value of the premises
which is the subject of this litigation immediately prior to
the fire occurring on April 7, 2013 is $302, 616." The
parties subsequently stipulated that Addison tendered the
difference between the amount previously paid for damage to
the structure and the amount of the appraisal award. In
December, based on this course of ...