NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
Filed: 18 May 2010
NORTH CAROLINA FARM BUREAU
MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC.,
v. Hyde County
No. 09 CVS 18
GERVIS E. SADLER, individually
and by and through STEVE ANTHONY
SADLER, his Attorney-in-fact,
Appeal by plaintiff from judgment entered 21 May 2009 by Judge
William C. Griffin, Jr. in Hyde County Superior Court. Heard in
the Court of Appeals 10 February 2010.
Young Moore and Henderson, P.A., by Walter E. Brock, Jr. and
Matthew J. Gray, for plaintiff-appellant.
Armstrong & Armstrong, P.A., by L. Lamar Armstrong, Jr., and
Ledolaw, by Michele A. Ledo, for defendant-appellee.
Plaintiff North Carolina Farm Bureau (Farm Bureau) appeals
from an order granting defendant Gervis Sadler (Sadler) partial
summary judgment on a counterclaim for breach of contract and
awarding Sadler $150,000.00 plus interest from the date of breach.
For the reasons stated herein, we affirm.
On 1 September 2005, Sadler submitted a home owner’s insurance
claim to Farm Bureau for damage to his house occurring during a
wind storm on 6 May 2005. Farm Bureau initially denied the claim
but, after a request to re-assess the property, estimated Sadler’s
damages to be valued at $3,203.03 “for roof damage and damage due
to roof damage.” On 18 May 2006, Farm Bureau issued Sadler a check
for $3,203.03. The check went uncashed, and on 5 June 2006, Sadler
provided Farm Bureau with the following notice:
[W]e feel like there is a lot more you should
have covered. We have talked to some friends
of ours that have used the appraisal process
to work these sort of things out. This process
sounds like it would work perfect and we would
like to use it. Please go ahead and name the
parties you intend to represent you. We are
talking to . . . some other folks about being
our representative. As soon as we get someone
to agree to it we will give you their name.”
On 22 June 2006, Sadler retained Lewis O’Leary as his
representative in the appraisal process. Farm Bureau did not
immediately respond. On 30 June 2006, the trial court entered an
order appointing Martin Overbolt to serve as umpire for the
parties’ respective appraisers.
On 31 July 2006, Farm Bureau retained appraiser Rick Manning.
In his summary report, Manning stated that his “inspection was to
determine damages from wind which allegedly came from a storm on
May 6, 2005.” Manning noted damage to roof shingles, water stains
on interior ceiling, mold growth, and termite damage. Manning
assessed the value of loss at $31,561.39.
On 1 February 2008, Umpire Overbolt and Sadler’s appraiser
agreed on an appraisal amount of $162,500.00. Farm Bureau filed a
complaint for declaratory relief in which it argued among other
things that the appraisal award was not covered by the homeowner’s
policy. Sadler counterclaimed alleging breach of policy /
contract, breach of covenant of good faith, and unfair claim
On 21 May 2009, the trial court entered an order granting
partial summary judgment in favor of Sadler, concluding that no
genuine issue of material fact existed with respect to Sadler’s
counterclaim for breach of contract and that considering the
categorical limits of Sadler’s homeowner’s insurance policy and the
pertinent deductible Sadler was “entitled to summary judgment
against Farm Bureau in the amount of $150,500, plus interest . . .
.” The order was certified for immediate appeal pursuant to Rule
54(b). Farm Bureau appeals.
Here, the insurance policy states that “[i]f [the appraisers]
fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire. Adecision agreed to by any two will set the amount of loss
(Emphasis added). Farm Bureau does not suggest that fraud, duress,
or other impeaching circumstances occurred during the appraisal
process; therefore, we hold the trial court did not err in granting
partial summary judgment to Sadler for the amount of the appraisal
award. Accordingly, we overrule Farm Bureau’s assignments of
Judges ELMORE and STROUD concur