White v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.Annotate this Case
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified two questions to the Georgia Supreme Court: "(1) Did the Georgia Insurance Commissioner act within his legal authority when he promulgated Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 120-2-20-.02, such that a multiple-line insurance policy providing first-party insurance coverage for theft-related property damage must be reformed to conform with the two-year limitation period provided for in Georgia's Standard Fire Policy, Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 120-2-19-.01?; and, (2) is this action barred by the Policy's one-year limitation period?" These questions arose from a dispute over Petitioner Ricardo White's purchase of a homeowner's insurance policy from Respondent State Farm Fire and Casualty Company. The insurance policy was a first-party insurance contract that provided multiple-line coverage, including coverage for loss or damage caused by both fire and theft. The policy contained a limitation provision stating that a lawsuit against State Farm must be brought "within one year of the date of loss or damage." After his home was burglarized in January 2008 (within the period of coverage), Petitioner filed a claim for the loss of more than $135,000 in personal property. State Farm denied the claim based on its determination that Petitioner misrepresented material information in filing his claim. Waiting more than one year after his date of loss, Petitioner filed a June 2009 complaint against State Farm in state court alleging claims for breach of contract, bad faith, and fraud. Upon review of the facts of this case, the Supreme Court found that: (1) the Georgia Insurance Commissioner did not act within his legal authority and (2) this action was barred by the one-year limitation period in his insurance policy.