Woodson v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-1935 (4th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit in state court against Allstate after it denied coverage for damages caused by Hurricane Irene to plaintiffs' waterfront home. Allstate removed to federal court, raising a statute of limitations defense. The district court did not address the limitations issue and ultimately entered judgment for plaintiffs. The Fourth Circuit concluded that plaintiffs' breach of contract claim was time barred because they did not file the complaint within one year of the denial of coverage, as required by the National Food Insurance Act of 1968 (NFIA), 42 U.S.C. 4001(a), and its regulations. Plaintiffs' argument that the statute should be tolled by their filing of a complaint in state court is foreclosed by Shofer v. Hack Co. Furthermore, the facts neither support a forfeiture or a waiver on behalf of Allstate. The Fourth Circuit also concluded that plaintiffs' claim for bad faith handling of their insurance claim under the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act N.C. Gen. Stat. 75-1.1 et seq., was preempted by federal law and therefore barred. Accordingly, the Fourth Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court.