United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
THE CONNECTORS REALTY GROUP CORPORATION, DARRYL WILLIAMS, and ANTOINE NASH, Plaintiffs,
STATE FARM FIRE & CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant.
Charles P. Kocoras United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant State Farm Fire & Casualty
Company's (“State Farm”) motion to dismiss
Plaintiffs The Connectors Realty Group Corporation
(“Connectors”), Darryl Williams
(“Williams”), and Antoine Nash's
(“Nash”) (collectively, “the
Plaintiffs”) amended class action complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following
reasons, the motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied
purposes of this motion, the Court accepts as true the
following facts from the amended complaint. Murphy v.
Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). All reasonable
inferences are drawn in the Plaintiffs' favor. Tamayo
v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).
is an Illinois corporation that manages and owns residential
and commercial real estate. Williams, an African-American
male, was Connectors' owner and sole shareholder. State
Farm is an insurance company authorized to do business in
relevant times, Connectors owned a property at 622-624 West
79th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60620 (“the
Premises”). The Premises includes two commercial
spaces, six apartment units, and a basement.
insure the Premises, Connectors contacted State Farm at some
time before January 5, 2017. State Farm inspected the
Premises and determined that it was fully occupied, that all
of the operating systems-including heat, electrical,
plumbing, and boilers-were fully operational, and that the
Premises met State Farm's standards for insurability.
State Farm recommended that the Premises be insured for a
replacement value amount of $400, 000.
about January 5, 2017, State Farm executed and delivered to
Connectors its Insurance Policy No. 93-GQ-Z610-71 (“the
Connectors Policy”) for property and liability
insurance on the Premises. Under the terms of the Connectors
Policy, State Farm insured against loss and damage to the
Premises, including water damage, equipment breakdown, theft,
vandalism, and loss of income for one year from the date of
the loss. The Connectors Policy provides that loss will be
payable 30 days following receipt of a proof of loss
Weather Event Claims
January 10, 2017, there was a below freezing weather event
(“the Weather Event”) in Chicago, Illinois.
Tenant Lynette Crawley (“Crawley”) left a
bathroom window open in Unit 2R of the Premises during the
Weather Event. This caused pipes to freeze and burst,
resulting in damage to the walls, floors, ceilings, drywall,
electric, heating and gas, pipelines, and water tank to the
tune of $86, 155. Connectors filed a corresponding claim
(“Claim No. 13-0670-8L5”) with State Farm for the
cost of the damage and the loss of rental income for one year
at a rate of $3, 850 per month. In total, Connectors claimed
$132, 355. They submitted a proof of loss statement for that
amount minus the amount of the deductible on August 4, 2017.
additional result of the Weather Event and Crawley's
action, water from the burst pipes submerged the boilers in
water, causing them to become rusted and inoperable. This
resulted in damage of $60, 000, for which Connectors filed in
a second claim (“Claim No. 13-1390-8S1”). They
filed a corresponding proof of loss statement minus the
amount of the deductible on September 5, 2017.
submitted a third claim (“Claim No. 13-1390-8N9”)
related to the Weather Event for damage to pipes, shelves,
equipment, ceilings, walls, flooring, radiators, gas lines;
the collapse of the store front; and electric and gas lines
being down, resulting in $116, 955 in damage. On August 11,
2017, Connectors filed a corresponding proof of loss
statement minus the amount of the deductible.
to Connectors, State Farm refused to repair or replace the
inoperable boilers. Therefore, the residents vacated the
Premises and stayed in a hotel at Connectors' expense,
leaving the Premises almost entirely unoccupied.
February 4, 2017, a theft and vandalism occurred at the
Premises, for which Connectors filed a claim with State Farm
(“Claim No. 13-0790-6C6”). Connectors claimed
damages for stolen copper pipes, copper plumbing fixtures,
fire alarm system, fire extinguishers, lights, smoke
detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, industrial heaters,
cabinets, and radiators; for broken light bulbs, doors,
electric outlets, and windows; and for damaged stairwells,
ceilings, and walls, resulting in a total loss of $120, 000.
April 23, 2017, a second theft occurred at the Premises, for
which Connectors suffered loss and damage in the amount of
$48, 500. Connectors filed a claim (“Claim No.
13-1390-8K9”) for this loss with State Farm. On August
11, 2017, Connectors filed a corresponding proof of loss
statement minus the amount of the deductible.
Hail Event Claim
April 17, 2017, a hail event (“the Hail Event”)
occurred in Chicago, Illinois. The Hail event caused a hole
in the third-floor roof of the Premises, damaging the ceiling
and drywall in the amount of $17, 500. Connectors filed a
claim (“Claim No. 13-1390-8F4”) with State Farm
for their losses and filed a corresponding proof of loss
statement on August 11, 2017.
State Farm's Processing of Connectors' Claims
Beavers (“Beavers”) is a Caucasian State Farm
employee and claim adjuster who was assigned to the three
claims arising from the Weather Event. Between January 10,
2017 and January 20, 2017, Williams had several telephone
conversations with Beavers regarding the claims. Beavers
inquired as to who was living at the Premises and how the
losses occurred. Williams explained that Crawley left the
bathroom window open, which froze and burst the pipes.
Beavers asked for the tenants' leases and stated that she
wanted to speak with Crawley. Williams complied with
Beavers' request and provided her with the leases.
On January 20, 2017, Williams and Beaver had the following
Tina Beavers said, “Are you sure someone was living
there (meaning Unit 2R)?[”]
Darryl Williams said, “Yes. Somebody's living
Tina Beavers said, “Well, I couldn't get a hold of
her. Do you have any other phone No. for her?”
Darryl Williams said, “No.”
Tina Beavers said, “Well, you get a hold of her, if she
really exists.” Darryl Williams said, “That's
not my job to get a hold of her. I gave you all the
Tina Beavers said, “You mean to tell me you people
don't use Facebook and other social media and you
don't know any of her homeys who could ...