Jury awards $3.4 million to James Demetre in insurance case - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Jury awards $3.4 million to Union man in insurance case

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CAMPBELL COUNTY, KY (FOX19) -

A Campbell Circuit Court jury awarded $3.425 million to a Union man on Tuesday.

The jury found that Indiana Insurance Company violated the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act and breached the insurance contract with James Demetre, its policyholder.

"This verdict should send a clear message to Indiana Insurance and the insurance industry in general that you must treat your policyholders fairly and in good faith, and if you fail to do so, you will be held accountable in court of law," said Jeffrey Sanders.

In 2009, a family living near Demetre's property in Newport sued him alleging petroleum fumes were coming into their home. Nine years before the suit, Demetre and his wife acquired the property which was formerly a gas station but had been vacant for 50 years. The family claimed personal injuries and property damages demanding $10 million in damages from Demetre.

Demetre turned the claim over to Indiana Insurance. The insurance company claimed it had no responsibility to cover the neighbor's claim or defend Demetre. He then hired Jeffrey Sanders who battled the company for more than three years to cover the claim.

Sanders sued the insurance carrier for insurance bad faith arguing that the company had breached its contract and failed to comply with Kentucky law. Indiana Insurance paid the family's claim.

Demetre was awarded $925,000 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. Sanders and his legal team are also entitled to recover attorneys' feed which are estimated to be more than $500,000.

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