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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

AMERIFREIGHT, INC. v. WESTCHESTER SURPLUS LINES INSURANCE COMPANY

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
2:14-cv-06937 Search Pacer
Opposing Party: 
Amerifreight, Inc.
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Central District of California
Date Filed: 
Sep 5 2014

Plaintiff AMERIFREIGHT, INC.(hereinafter sometimes referred to as "PLAINTIFF" or
"AMERIFREIGHT") hereby complains and alleges as follows:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
1. PLAINTIFF brings this action against WESTCHESTER SURPLUS LINES
INSURANCE COMPANY and DOES 1 THROUGH 50 (hereinafter collectively
"DEFENDANTS") due to DEFENDANTS' wrongful and improper failure to properly adjust and
pay AMERIFREIGHT'S claims of losses covered under a policy of insurance purchased by
AMERIFREIGHT from WESTCHESTER SURPLUS LINES INSURANCE (hereinafter
"WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE") for all direct losses caused by criminal activity of
third parties. The claim at issue stems from actual damages due to two incidences of theft of
personal property at AMERIFREIGHT's Elwood and Stimson facilities.
VENUE AND JURISDICTION
2. This is an action for damages for breach of contract and breach of the duty of
good faith and fair dealing. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1332
(diversity) because the parties to the action are residents of differing states and the amount in
controversy is in excess of $75,000. Venue is proper in the Central District of California
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1391(b). Jury is demanded by Plaintiff.
PARTIES TO THE ACTION
3. PLAINTIFF AMERIFREIGHT is a California corporation, doing business as
Logistics Team, with its principal place of business in City of Industry, California.
4. AMERIFREIGHT is informed and believes and on that basis alleges that
WESTCHESTER SURPLUS is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State
of Georgia, with its principal place of business in Fulton County, Georgia.
5. PLAINTIFF is ignorant of the true names and capacities of defendants sued
herein as DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, and therefore sues those defendants by such fictitious
names. PLAINTIFF will amend this complaint to allege their true names and capacities when
ascertained. PLAINTIFF is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges, that each of the
fictitiously named defendants is responsible in some manner for the occurrences herein alleged
and that PLAINTIFF'S damages as herein alleged were proximately caused by said defendants.
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
6. On or about September 2009, AMERIFREIGHT purchased from
WESTCHESTER SURPLUS Policy No. IMC 121042109, a comprehensive portfolio of
insurance which included coverage for both cargo claims and warehouse claims with policy
limits of $200,000 for any one unit and $400,000 each occurrence per claim for warehouse theft
along with a $1,000 deductible and limits of $200,000 for any one unit and $400,000 each
occurrence per cargo claim along with a $5,000 deductible (hereinafter "the WESTCHESTER
SURPLUS POLICY"). AMERIFREIGHT paid WESTCHESTER SURPLUS a premium of
$37,359.00 for the WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY. The policies of insurance were
originally issued on October 17, 2010 and were renewed on October 17, 2011 and were active
from October 17, 2010 through October 17, 2012.
7. On or about the September 26, 2011, AMERIFREIGHT discovered that a cargo
trailer that had been delivered, but not yet unloaded had been stolen from AMERIFREIGHT's
Elwood Yard. The unknown thieves stole $272,728.00 worth of electronics. AMERIFREIGHT
contacted the police and filed a police report (hereinafter referred to as the "September Loss").
8. On or about November 3, 2011, AMERIFREIGHT reported the September Loss
claim to its carrier Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company and a proof of loss showing a
loss of $272,728.00 was provided.
9. On or about November 3, 2011, AMERIFREIGHT discovered that it had been the
victim of a burglary of its Stimson warehouse. The unknown thieves stole $97,533.08 worth of
electronics. Thereafter, AMERIFREIGHT reported the theft to the police and performed a
diligent and reasonable investigation of the theft (hereafter referred to as the "Novembei
Warehouse Loss").
10. On or about November 4, 2011, AMERIFREIGHT reported the Novembei
Warehouse Loss claim to its carrier Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company and provided
a proof of loss showing a loss of $97,533.08.
11. All premiums due under the WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY have been
fully paid on behalf of PLAINTIFF and PLAINTIFF has fully performed, or has been excused
from performing, all terms and conditions required by the WESTCHESTER SURPLUS
POLICY.
12. On December 2011, AMERIFREIGHT received notice that WESTCHESTER
SURPLUS had received the tender of the claim and had assigned JP Heeger of Ace Insurance
(hereinafter "ACE") as the adjustor on the file. AMERIFREIGHT is informed and believes that
ACE is a subsidiary of and/or otherwise affiliated with WESTCHESTER SURPLUS and that JP
Heeger was, at all times mentioned herein, acting as an agent of WESTCHESTER SURPLUS in
adjusting the claims for both the September and November Losses.
13. In December 2011, AMERIFREIGHT received an email from Mr. Heegei
informing AMERIFREIGHT's risk manager that, on behalf of WESTCHESTER SURPLUS
INSURANCE, he had received the documents in support of AMERIFREIGHT's proof of claim.
14. In early 2013, Mr. Heeger requested additional documents and on April 25, 2013
all documents requested by Mr. Heeger were provided.
15. In or about August 2013, AMERIFREIGHT's in house counsel, James Tran
contacted Mr. Heeger to determine why the claim had not been adjusted. On September 6, 2013
Mr. Heeger responded and indicated that he believed that there was less coverage because of a
contractual provision despite the fact that the policy covered the reasonable value of all property
16. On September 12, 2013, AMERIFREIGHT's counsel, James Tran responded to
Mr. Heeger and advised him that he was incorrect and also requested a copy of the claim file.
17. Thereafter, Mr. Tran and Mr. Heeger spoke by telephone in order to clarify
various issues. Following said conversation, Mr. Heeger requested additional documents. On
October 16, 2013, the additional requested documents were provided.
18. On October 21, 2013, Mr. Tran attempted to follow up with Mr. Heeger via email
Mr. Heeger replied to Mr. Tran's email, indicating that he would address it the following day.
19. On October 23, 2013, Mr. Tran left a follow up email for Mr. Heeger as he had
received no further communication.
20. On October 25, 2013, Mr. Heeger sent Mr. Tran an email indicating that due to
other obligations he would not be able to address this issue for a week or so.
21. On November 5, 2013, Mr. Tran followed up with Mr. Heeger once again. On
November 8, 2013, Mr. Heeger responded indicating that he would like to have a telephone call
with AMERIFREIGHT before he issues his final opinion, but he made no arrangements for said
telephone call.
22. On December 3, 2013, Mr. Tran attempted to follow up once again. Mr. Tran
received no response to said communication.
23. On February 25, 2014, AMERIFREIGHT's risk manager, Mike Oliver contacts
Mr. Heeger and once again, requested a position on the outstanding claims. In this
correspondence, Mr. Oliver advised Mr. Heeger that AMERIFREIGHT would file suit if a
satisfactory resolution could not be reached shortly.
24. On or about February 26, 2014, Mr. Heeger and Mr. Oliver had a telephone
conversation and Mr. Heeger assured him that he would obtain a response to the claim shortly.
25. On July 17, 2014, Laura Each Nguyen, counsel for AMERIFREIGHT, contacted
Mr. Heeger and demanded his final position. Mr. Heeger responded to this correspondence and
requested further documentation. This documentation was provided on July 18, 2014
AMERIFREIGHT has received no further communication from Mr. Heeger or Westchestei
Surplus Insurance.
26. WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE, by and through ACE, has engaged
in a number of delay tactics and obstructive behaviors including, but not limited to, refusing to
respond to communications, requesting information that is not relevant to the claim in order to
justify delay and obstruction, failing to pay amounts due and payable, and causing
AMERIFREIGHT damages as a result of WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE'S delay
tactics and refusal to pay amounts owed for AMERIFREIGHT's claim for damages arising out
of the September and November claims.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
Breach of Contract
(Count 1)
Against All Defendants
27. AMERIFREIGHT hereby incorporates paragraphs 1 through 26, inclusive, as
though fully set forth herein.
28. In or about 2010, AMERIFREIGHT entered into a business relationship with
Defendant WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE for the provision of a policy of
insurance.
29. In or about October 17, 2010, WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE issued
to AMERIFREIGHT a comprehensive portfolio of policies of insurance which covered both
cargo and warehouse losses for the period of October 17, 2010 at 12:01 a.m. through October 17
2011 at 12:00 a.m.
30. This WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY bore policy number 121042109 001
A true and correct copy of the relevant portions of the WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY is
attached to the Complaint as Exhibit "A" and incorporated by reference.
31. Under the terms of the WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY, AMERUREIGHTi
was required to pay the policy premium and certain deductible amounts and, in return
WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE was required to pay all covered claims made by
AMERIFREIGHT or any other named insureds.
32. AMERIFREIGHT performed all conditions, covenants, promises, and obligations
in accordance with the WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY, including but not limited to
paying all premium amounts and deductible amounts. If AMERIFREIGHT has not fully
performed all conditions, covenants, promises, obligations, and requirements to be performed
pursuant to policy number 121042109 001, AMERIFREIGHT'S performance was excused by
WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE'S acts, omissions, or other action, including but not
limited to WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE'S breach of contract, unclean hands, oi
waiver.
33. Under the terms of the WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY, WESTCHESTER!
SURPLUS INSURANCE agreed to pay all covered and substantiated claims as they became due
34. WESTCHESTER SURPLUS INSURANCE breached the terms of the
WESTCHESTER SURPLUS POLICY by failing to properly investigate, acknowledge and pay
the claim made for the September Loss. PLAINTIFF alleges that DEFENDANTS' purposeful

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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