Monday, July 25, 2022

With Regards to An Insurance Policy's Definition of 'Residency,' Court Rules That An Insured May Have More Than One Residence

In the case of Isenberg v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 21-CV-1147 (W.D. Pa. May 27, 2022 Schwab, J.) (Mem. Op.), the court addressed issues of insurance coverage in the context of a house fire.

In this case, the carrier asserted that it was entitled to summary judgment because the Plaintiff was not using the house as a residence at the time of the fire.

According to the facts of the case, the Plaintiff had purchased the house in 2018, and continued to live in her apartment during the renovations at the house, which renovations turned out to the more extensive than anticipated. Then, in 2020, a fire destroyed the home. The Plaintiff filed a claim under her homeowner’s policy.

The carrier rescinded the policy, alleging that the Plaintiff was not using the house as a residence.

The Plaintiff filed suit in state court and the carrier removed the case to federal court. After discovery was completed, the Defendant carrier moved for summary judgment.

As noted, the carrier asserted that was not using the property as a residence at the time of the fire. The insurance company additionally argued that a person could only have one “residence.”

The court ruled in favor of the Plaintiff.  In part, the court found that Pennsylvania courts and federal courts applying Pennsylvania law had agreed that a person was not limited to only being able to have one residence.

Rather, the case law suggested that residency was a question of physical fact and not the policyholder’s intention.

In this case, the record before the court revealed that the Plaintiff was physically present at house on an almost daily basis. There was also evidence that she had meals there, slept at the house on occasion, and had personal belongings in the house during the course of the renovations.

As such, the carrier’s Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (June 14, 2022).

Source of image:  Photo by Jeffrey Czum on

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.