from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David May,
Sleister appeals from the district court's orders
granting the defendant's motion for judgment
notwithstanding the verdict on his breach-of-contract claim
and dismissing his bad-faith claim.
Kenneth R. Munro of Munro Law Office, P.C., Des Moines, for
Cook and Adam Zenor of Grefe & Sidney, P.L.C., Des
Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and Greer, JJ.
May, J., takes no part.
2016, Darren Sleister entered into a "house
flipping" venture with Georgios Symeonidis after seeing
Symeonidis's property listing. Under their agreement,
Symeonidis would own the property and act as general
contractor during the rehab, Sleister would pay for labor and
materials, and Sleister would retain the net proceeds from
the sale of the fully-remodeled property. On July 19,
Symeonidis purchased homeowner's insurance for the
property with $100, 800 in dwelling coverage from State Farm
Fire and Casualty Company (State Farm). Symeonidis was the
named insured as the property owner, and Sleister was named
as an additional insured. A State Farm underwriting
representative took photographs of the property on July 29,
showing the condition of the home to be extremely poor. A
municipal sign posted on the door declared the property a
public nuisance unsafe or unfit for human occupancy.
hired a subcontractor to work on the roof, and Sleister
expected the subcontractor would only remove and replace the
shingles and sheathing. On August 10, the subcontractor
removed the entire roof, including the trusses, leaving the
exposed home without a tarp or other protection from the
elements. A rainstorm began later that day, dumping water
into the now-roofless structure and destroying the interior
of the home.
August 11, State Farm was notified of the property damage. A
claims specialist did not inspect the property until August
25. By that time, most of the internal walls and flooring of
the home had been removed. The claims specialist took
photographs of the property, but he was unable to confirm
what damage was attributable to the rainstorm. Sleister
maintains that because State Farm waited weeks from the date
of the damage to inspect the property, the walls and floors
of the home deteriorated to the extent that they had to be
removed before the inspection; however, the materials
remained piled around the property or in the dumpster on
September 13, State Farm sent Symeonidis a letter denying
coverage under the policy, stating, "We are denying
coverage for this claim based [on] your failure to comply
with the conditions of the policy. You have a duty under the
policy to allow us to inspect the damage prior to the
demolition or commencement of repairs."
policy requires the following duties of the insured after a
a. give immediate notice to us or our agent. . . .; Also
notify the police if the loss is caused by theft. Also notify
the credit card company or bank if the loss involves a credit
card or bank fund transfer card;
b. protect the property from further damage or loss, make
reasonable and necessary temporary repairs required to
protect the property, keep an accurate record of repair
c. prepare an inventory of damaged or stolen personal
property. Show in detail the quantity, description, age,
replacement cost and amount of loss. Attach to the inventory
all bills, receipts and related ...