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Church Mutual Insurance Co. v. Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

August 18, 2016

CHURCH MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
PLEASANT GREEN MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Church Mutual Insurance Company’s (“Church Mutual”) Motion for Summary Judgment and Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church’s (“Pleasant Green”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 55, 58.) Also pending before the Court are the Parties’ Motions to Strike the reports and testimony of several experts. (ECF Nos. 53, 61, 63.) The Motions have been fully briefed and are ready for disposition.

         BACKGROUND

         The summary judgment record reveals the following facts. Pleasant Green owns a building located at 1220 Rev. G. H. Pruitt Place in St. Louis, Missouri (hereinafter, the “Building”). Pleasant Green had a policy of insurance for the Building through Church Mutual (hereinafter, the “Policy”), which provides, in pertinent part:

         COMMON POLICY CONDITIONS

         All coverage parts included in this policy are subject to the following conditions:

         A. CANCELLATION, NONRENEWAL AND DECREASES IN COVERAGE

2. We may cancel, nonrenew, reduce in amount or adversely modify this policy by mailing or delivering to the first Named Insured written notice of this action at least:
a. Ten (10) days before the effective date of this action if due to nonpayment of premium or evidence of incendiarism; … 4. Notice of:
a. Cancellation will state the effective date of cancellation. The policy period will end on that date.
PROPERTY CONDITIONS

         A. CONCEALMENT, MISREPRESENTATION OR FRAUD

         This Coverage Part is void in any case of fraud by you relating to it. It is also void if you or any other insured, at any time, intentionally conceal or misrepresent a material fact concerning:

         4. A claim under this Coverage Part.

         C. LOSS CONDITIONS

3. Duties in the Event of Loss or Damage a. You must see that the following are done in the event of loss or damage to the Covered Property:
(2) Give us prompt notice of the loss or damage. Include a description of the property involved;
(3) As soon as possible, give us a description of how, when, and where the loss or damage occurred;
(4) Take all reasonable steps to protect the Covered Property from further damage…

(Plf. Ex. 2, ECF No. 56.2.) The Policy also contains a provision that excludes from coverage certain causes of loss, including “wear and tear”; “continuous or repeated seepage or leakage of water, or the presence of condensation of humidity, moisture, or vapor that occurs over a period of 14 days or more”; and “faulty, inadequate, or defective…design, [or] construction.” Id.

         On December 6, 2012, Church Mutual sent a Notice of Cancellation to Pleasant Green for nonpayment of the Policy premium. The Notice provided Pleasant Green until December 21, 2012 to make payment in order to avoid cancellation. (Plf. SUMF ¶ 4, Plf. Ex. 3.) On December 27, 2012, Church Mutual sent a final billing statement to Pleasant Green, indicating that the “Policy Period” had run from “09/17/12 - 12/21/12” and that the Policy was “[c]ancelled, ” and requesting payment for an earned premium. (Plf. SUMF ¶ 5, Plf. Ex. 5.) Pleasant Green paid the earned premium, and on January 29, 2013, Church Mutual sent a letter to Pleasant Green acknowledging receipt of the “earned premium, ” and confirming that “coverage on this policy has ceased.” (Plf. SUMF ¶¶ 6, 7; Plf. Ex. 7.)

         On April 17, 2013, the ceiling of the Building’s sanctuary collapsed. (Plf. SUMF ¶ 9.) The same day, Trustee Carlton Wicker contacted Church Mutual regarding the ceiling failure. (Plf. SUMF ¶ 10.) Church Mutual advised him that the Policy had been cancelled in December 2012. (Plf. SUMF ¶ 11.) Several days later, Deacon Barry Taylor sent a letter on behalf of Pleasant Green to Church Mutual regarding the “unjustifiable cancellation” of the Policy, and requesting that the Policy be reinstated. (Plf. Ex. 10.) The letter explained that the “church trustee board was unaware of the cancellation” due to reasons that were “being addressed internally, ” and that there had been confusion regarding the payment plan. Id. Church Mutual denied Mr. Taylor’s request for reinstatement; however, it thereafter issued Pleasant Green a new policy that excluded coverage of the damage to the sanctuary. (Plf. SUMF ¶ 16, Plf. Ex. 1.) On August 7, 2013, Pleasant Green filed a Complaint with the Department of Insurance, alleging ...


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