Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division
Not Final until expiration of the rehearing period. See MO R RCP Rule 84.16 regarding unpublished opinions.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Missouri. The Honorable Randall R. Jackson, Judge.
Joseph W. Elliott, St. Joseph, MO, for appellants.
Charles H. Stitt, Kansas City, MO, for respondent.
Before Division Three: Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, James E. Welsh, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge. All concur.
Derek and Jennifer Wilson (" the Wilsons" ) purchased a " Gold Star" 100% replacement cost insurance policy (the " Policy" ) from American Family Mutual Insurance Company (" American Family" ) to insure their home, a historic farmhouse located in Buchanan County. After a fire completely destroyed the home, American Family informed the Wilsons that it would pay the face amount of the policy of $419,000 for the coverage on the dwelling, an amount that was substantially less than all bids to rebuild the home following the fire.
The Wilsons filed suit in the Circuit Court of Buchanan County against American Family and its agent, Matt Thrasher (" Thrasher" ), alleging negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. The jury found for the Wilsons on their breach of contract claim, but found in favor of American Family on the negligent misrepresentation claim. On the breach of contract claim, the jury assessed damages in the amount of $7,500. The Wilsons filed a motion for a new trial or, in the alternative, for additur. The trial court denied both motions. On appeal, the Wilsons argued, inter alia, that the trial court erred in denying their motion for a new trial because evidence established that the Policy was ambiguous as a matter of law.
Because the trial court's finding that the Policy was not ambiguous is erroneous, we reverse and remand for a new trial.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 2003, the Wilsons purchased a historic farmhouse located in Buchanan County. The farmhouse was believed to have been built in the 1880's. It was unique in many ways. It had three fireplaces, full dimensional log walls, three ...