For more than twenty five years, Calloway’s Health and Fitness has been providing its members with top notch facilities. Members of the Baton Rouge area health club work out on the modern, regularly updated equipment, and swim and relax in the pool area. Not long ago, however, a nearby highway construction project threatened the business that owner Donnie Calloway has worked so hard to grow and maintain. Ultimately a suit was filed to protect his rights.
Loud, obnoxious pile driving right by the outdoor pool caused cracks to the pool decking, and roof leaks, among other damages. Members could not use the pool in peace. Here’s a video of the pile driving:
Being a good businessman, Mr. Calloway attempted to negotiate with the contractor and his own commercial insurance company, Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company. He brought the new damage to their attention. He walked the property with the contractors and representatives from Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company. WAFB, a local news organization, even wrote a story about the problem. However, neither the contractor nor the insurer would settle. The insurance company refused to pay the claim, calling the new damage old damage and arguing that an inapplicable “earth movement” policy exclusion applied.
Without any other options, Donnie Calloway, a long term friend and client, hired our firm to help. Given that the statute of limitations was about to expire, we filed suit against the highway contractor and insurance company. General and bad faith damages were alleged. A copy of the suit filed is available here. Under Louisiana law there is a presumption of insurance coverage when a policy is in place. And claims must be made within thirty days of the insured providing proof of loss. The suit is progressing nicely. We’re making the case that the insurance company is in bad faith for not investigating the claim thoroughly and refusing to pay the claim for pre-textual reasons. We hired an independent engineering firm to investigate the claim. The engineer’s opinion is that the forceful pile driving caused the building damages. Thus, we are confident we will win at trial.
In the meantime, Mr. Calloway has made temporary repairs to the pool and other areas of the gym and Calloway’s Court Club is open for business.