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Ridge v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 8, 2019

Villas at Winding Ridge, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued September 23, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:16-cv-3301 - Tanya Walton Pratt, Judge.

          Before Easterbrook, Hamilton, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.

          St. Eve, Circuit Judge.

         In June 2013, a storm passed over Villas at Winding Ridge ("Winding Ridge"), a condominium complex located in Indiana, causing some minor damage from hail. Winding Ridge did not discover the damage until almost a year later when a contractor inspected the property to estimate the cost of replacing its aging roofs. Remembering its one-year State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm") insurance policy, Winding Ridge submitted a claim to State Farm. Winding Ridge and State Farm inspected the property and exchanged estimates on the amount of the loss, but they could not reach an agreement. Winding Ridge subsequently demanded an appraisal under the insurance policy, and State Farm complied. After exchanging competing appraisals, the umpire upon whom both sides had agreed issued an award, which later became binding.

         Winding Ridge filed suit against State Farm alleging breach of contract, bad faith, and promissory estoppel. The parties cross-moved for summary judgment. The district court granted in part and denied in part Winding Ridge's cross-motion for partial summary judgment and granted State Farm's motion for summary judgment. Winding Ridge now appeals the district court's ruling on State Farm's motion for summary judgment.

         We affirm. We hold that the policy is unambiguous and enforceable. There is also no evidence that State Farm breached the policy or acted in bad faith when resolving the claim.

         I. Background

         Winding Ridge is a condominium complex with 32 residential buildings and a clubhouse located in Indianapolis, Indiana. State Farm insured Winding Ridge under a Residential Community Association Policy effective between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013. The policy covered "accidental direct physical loss" to the covered property, unless the loss is subject to a policy exclusion.

         If the loss is covered under the policy, State Farm can choose one of the following loss payment options:

(a) Pay the value of lost or damaged property;
(b) Pay the cost of repairing or replacing the lost or damaged property;
(c) Take all or any part of the property at an agreed or appraised value; or
(d) Repair, rebuild or replace the property with other property of like kind and quality.

         The policy states that State Farm will determine the value of the covered property as follows:

(a) At replacement cost without deduction for depreciation, as of the time of loss, subject to the following:
i. We will pay the cost to repair or replace, after application of the deductible and without deduction for depreciation, but not more than the least of the following amounts:
2) The cost to replace, on the described premises, the lost or damaged property with other property of comparable material, ...

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