An appeal in a Bibb County insurance fight is among the cases that the Georgia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear today.
In that case, justices will decide whether LaGrande Thornton filed suit against his insurance company, after his house burned down, within the required time frame.
Fire destroyed Thornton’s home Feb. 28, 2006. On March 2, Georgia Farm Bureau notified him that it would be investigating the fire and that he needed to file a sworn statement detailing the amount of loss he was claiming as well as documents supporting the loss.
Thornton filed that statement within two weeks, but Georgia Farm Bureau rejected it, notifying Thornton that investigators determined that the fire had been set deliberately.
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Here’s what happened from there, according to the court summary:
Thornton got a lawyer and submitted a second sworn statement dated April 26. On Oct. 30, the insurance company again denied coverage, alleging that Thornton was involved in causing the fire and had misrepresented facts.
Under the policy Thornton had with Georgia Farm Bureau, he had one year from the time of the fire — or until Feb. 28, 2007 — to file a lawsuit. Thornton filed suit March 15, 2007.
The insurance company filed a motion for summary judgment, asking a lower court to rule in its favor without a trial based on Thornton’s failure to file suit within the one-year time limit. That motion was granted, and it held up on appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Now, the state Supreme Court will decide whether the clock on the one-year deadline should have been stopped during the time the insurance company conducted its investigation.