SJJ attorneys Alex Jadin, Tim Johnson, and Jeff Woltjen won a major case at the Minnesota Court of Appeals yet again securing a policyholder’s right to interest on an insurance appraisal award.

A fire caused significant damage to Sheila and William Oliver’s home in Edina, Minnesota. They promptly submitted a claim to a claim under their homeowner’s policy with State Farm. State Farm undervalued the loss and the Olivers were forced to demand appraisal in order to repair their home. An appraisal panel issued an award in their favor, and the Olivers hired SJJ to help them recover pre-award interest on their claim.

State Farm refused to pay pre-award interest “based on the two-year limitation clause provided in the Oliver’s homeowners’ policy.” SJJ won another case earlier this year on this very issue in K&R Landholdings that the policy’s limitation does not apply to pre-award interest, so SJJ took the matter before the Hennepin District County Court.
The Hennepin County District Court ruled in State Farm’s favor, and held that a request for preaward interest was a “modification” of the appraisal award which required the Olivers to file the request for preaward interest within 90 days of the issuance of the award. This outcome is contrary to several prior cases in Minnesota, many of which were handled by SJJ attorneys.

The Court of Appeals heard arguments and ruled in favor of the Olivers on all issues. The Court held that (1) the 90-day limit to file a motion to modify an appraisal award does not apply to a policyholder’s right to pre-award interest; and (2) that an appraisal panel does not have legal authority to determine the amount of interest due. This is one of five cases SJJ has handled in either the Minnesota Supreme Court or Court of Appeals in just over one year where the insurance industry sought to prevent a policyholder from recovering interest after undervaluing their claim. SJJ has prevailed in every single one.

There are still ongoing disputes regarding the amount of interest due and how to calculate it. If your insurance company undervalued your claim and you were forced to go to appraisal to receive a fair award, your first call should be to SJJ so you can get every dollar of interest you are entitled to. Several different deadlines may apply to your case, so call us today!

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