Arson Destroys Sacramento Couple’s Home But They Still Have To Battle Insurance Company, Part 5 of 6

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this insurance bad faith lawsuit and its proceedings.)


Black alleges that several causes of action are not sufficient to state a claim because specificity of facts are not alleged. When a court decides whether a complaint adequately states a cause of action, it must decide whether the allegations of the complaint adequately state a cause of action under any legal theory, or that it states some right to relief. The allegations are limited to the face of the pleading not whether there are facts to be discovered, or evidence that may arise in defense of the complaint. Essentially, are there allegations that present causes of actions despite legal conclusion, or unclear facts, such that a defendant is unable to defend in an answer.

Black’s demurrer reads like a motion for summary judgment or affirmative defenses to an answer. Black does not state he does not understand what is being alleged against him but that the law protects him from being sued as the complaint states. Discovery has not been conducted to determine whether Black’s acts were “in the scope of his employment.”

Demurrers are not meant to test the sufficiency of the evidence or other matters outside the pleading. Demurrers are improper to where complaint shows some right to relief even though facts are not clearly stated or are intermingled with irrelevant matters, or the plaintiff has demanded relief to which they are not entitled. Gressley v. Williams (1961) 193 CA 2d 636.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Even so, considering the length and relationship of Black to the Halls, his liability is apparent by the rule set out in Fitzpatrick v. Hayes, 57 Cal. App.4th 916; that his communications and lack of correspondence with the Halls misrepresented the coverage, the extent, or scope; the Halls did inform him of the status of the property, and other properties he held; and they have inquired with him regarding insurance policies for particular properties, which he gladly explained in great detail.

Though, Black, as an agent, may not be liable for a breach of the policy contract, he has been negligent in his handling of their policies and providing all necessary documents for them to consider. The plaintiffs have suffered emotional distress regarding the loss, the loyalty and reliance on Black as their agent. The situation has aggravated their health problems. Mr. Hall has developed an hernia, suffers from high blood pressure. Ms. Hall’s heart condition has exacerbated, as well as other health problems. They have worry and anxiety over their insurance coverage and the amounts of money they have expended to cover the homes, and have such trust in Black, whom they regarded as a very likable person has caused extreme stress.

Black was employed by XYZ and his acts are attributed to them, however, whether his actions were company policy are intentional should not be decided in a demurrer. The Hall’s reliance on Black and his failure to correct any misunderstanding when he was informed about the property indicates behavior that actionable per Paper Savers, Inc. v. Nacsa, 51 Cal. App. 4th 1090. (See Part 6 of 6.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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