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Davaloo v. State Farm Insurance Co.

California Court of Appeal
37 Cal. Rptr. 3d 528 (2005)


Facts

The California legislature adopted a statute reviving certain claims against insurers for losses caused by the January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 340.9, lawsuits for claims from the 1994 earthquake could be brought within one year of the January 1, 2001 effective date of the statute, which meant no later than December 31, 2001. On December 31, 2001, Homie Davaloo (plaintiff) and Maurice and Suzie Abdel-Messih (plaintiffs) sued State Farm Insurance Company (State Farm) (defendant). Except for the case captions, the complaints were identical. The complaints only contained generic allegations of failure to pay policy benefits for earthquake damage from the Northridge earthquake. The complaints did not list the plaintiffs’ address, the policy number, policy limits, or any other term of the plaintiffs’ insurance policies. The complaints did not attach a copy of the insurance policy, and no specific facts were alleged regarding any claim by the plaintiffs for policy benefits or any response from State Farm to a claim. State Farm demurred, or moved to dismiss, alleging that the complaints did not meet the basic fact-pleading requirement. In response, in June 2003, the plaintiffs filed amended complaints. State Farm demurred again. The trial court found that the amended complaints did not relate back to the original complaints and, therefore, were time-barred. The plaintiffs appealed to the California Court of Appeal.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Perluss, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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