Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Random Notes

Randum notes of May 11, 2011 copied or spiked:

Loan Limits Effect on Counties

Modern Life on Tobacco Road

Foremost Ins. Co. v. Rudolph

In May of 2010, Cynthia lived in a 1996 Fleetwood mobile home located in Lowndes County, Alabama near Highway 80. Cynthia lived with four of her eight children: Emily (age 19), Karmen Rudolph (age 18), Jacora Brown (16), and Fantavia Brown (14). Emily's two daughters, Alivia (age 4 months) and Alkera (age 2), also lived in the mobile home.

Cynthia earned some income from gambling either with her own money or with other people's money.1 [*6] She earned about $10,000 from gambling in the year before preceding May of 2010. She also sold food such as hamburgers and chicken strips from an unlicensed concession stand near the mobile home. She earned about $400 a month doing so. Cynthia's friends Rick Graham ("Graham") and Roosevelt Williams ("Williams") financially assisted Cynthia and her family. In fact, Graham gave Cynthia and her daughters the mobile home in which they lived.2 As of May of 2010, Cynthia had outstanding federal tax liens against her for $18,213 for 2004; $29,496 for 2003; and $2,120 for 1998.

1 In 2007, Cynthia hit a $1,000,000 jackpot while gambling. She purchased cars, a boat, an excavator, her concession, new televisions and appliances and her concession stand before a man with whom she had been romantically involved disappeared with $800,000 of the money. Cynthia did not file an income tax return for 2007, nor did she pay income taxes on the jackpot. The IRS is pursuing her for taxes she should have paid on her winnings in 2007.

2 There is some conflict in the testimony about legal title to the mobile home. Emily testified that the title for the mobile home was in her name jointly with Graham. Cynthia seemed [*7] to indicate that it was in the name of Emily alone Emily and her sisters, but that Graham intended the mobile home to be used by Cynthia and her daughters. There is also some conflicting information in the record about the ownership of the land on which the mobile home was located. Emily claims Graham gave it to her along with the mobile home. Graham indicates that he continues to own the land but did not charge Cynthia and her children to reside in the mobile home on his land.

Emily has never been employed. She received only $358 a month in food stamps. In 2010, she had several outstanding debts which were in the collection process. The total sum owed on these debts exceeded $14,000.

For several months, Emily did not have insurance on the mobile home. When Emily's younger sister Karmen started a job as a Census Worker, Emily decided to obtain insurance on the mobile home. On April 12, 2010, Emily called Foremost to obtain insurance on the mobile home. Foremost took her application and payment over the phone. Emily asked when the policy would be effective. The Foremost representative told her that it could be effective that day if the payment was made over the phone. Emily and Karmen [*8] arranged for the initial payment to be taken out of Karmen's bank account.

Foremost issued a policy providing insurance of $80,000 on the mobile home, $43,000 for personal property within the home, and $15,000 for other structures. Foremost has identified several policy provisions that are key to the resolution of this motion. Those provisions are as follows:

SECTION 1 - Insured Perils

We insure risk of direct, sudden and accidental physical loss to the property described in Coverage A - Dwelling, Coverage B - Other Structures and Coverage C - Personal Property unless the loss is excluded elsewhere in this policy.

* * * *

Doc. 18 at Ex. A- 1.

On the afternoon of May 11, 2010, the mobile home burned. At the time of the fire, the mobile home was unoccupied. Cynthia was nearby at the concession stand. Two of Emily's younger sisters had come home from school and taken Emily's children on a walk to a nearby store. Emily put a load of clothes into the dryer. Rather than going to her mother's nearby concession stand, Emily decided to drive to the White Hall Triple Spot Restaurant, which was located five or ten miles away, to pick up a cheese hamburger. When Emily left, she made sure she locked the mobile home.

A relative of hers, Tracy Smith ("Smith") was working on the brakes of his car nearby, and she told him she was going to get some food. After Emily left the mobile home, Smith did not see anyone enter or leave the mobile. Smith heard a smoke alarm sounding inside the mobile home. He looked [*10] into the mobile home and saw fire. He tried to extinguish the fire by breaking out a window and spraying water from a hose. He also called 911. A man who was passing by stopped to help Smith try to stop the fire. The fire department arrived and extinguished the flames. The mobile home was rendered a total loss.

When Emily returned from picking up her cheese burger, she saw the fire department, ambulance, and many cars near her mobile home. She realized her mobile home was on fire. It is not clear who contacted Foremost to report the fire and make a claim, but it is clear that someone informed Foremost about the fire and that both Cynthia and Emily had dealings with Foremost relating to the insurance claim for the loss of the mobile home and its contents. Both Emily and Cynthia indicated that they did not know how the fire had started.

Foremost issued a number of checks to Emily to pay the family's emergency living expenses after the fire. Foremost also began to investigate the cause and origin of the fire. It hired Troy Ammons ("Ammons"), a Certified

Etc., etc., etc.

[they -- Cynthia and Emily -- lost]

Foremost Ins. Co. v. Rudolph, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49551 (D. Ala. 2011)