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Property insurer refuses to pay damages in racial discrimination lawsuit

State Farm claims landlord's 'intentional' acts are a deal-breaker

Landlord Jack Combs was sued by a county fair-housing organization for alleged racial discrimination. Combs tendered defense of the lawsuit to his landlord's liability insurer, State Farm, which agreed to defend under a reservation of rights. The U.S. District Court entered a default judgment against Combs for his failure to produce documents in a "willful and bad faith attempt to obfuscate the discovery process and mislead (the fair-housing organization) and the court." Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. The court awarded compensatory and punitive damages for Combs' intentional acts. Because the acts were intentional rather than negligent, State Farm did not have to pay those damages. However, Combs sued State Farm, arguing the insurer is obligated to pay the $508,000 attorney fees, plus $131,000 additional attorney fees for appeals, to the fair-housing organization. State Farm refused to pay the prevailing party's attorney fees, which Combs claims are owed under a supplementary...

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