The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis M. Sweeney Special Master
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING
THE WAIVER CLAIM OF PHILLIP BLYTHE
This constitutes the Report and Recommendation to the Court concerning the waiver claim of Phillip Blythe pursuant to Part 1.f of the Memorandum Order of the Court (Document 467). In preparing this report, the Special Master reviewed the motions, memoranda, affidavits and exhibits provided in connection with the process specified in the Memorandum Order. As necessary, the Special Master also reviewed other documents that are part of the Court filings in this case. The Special Master was also provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") the computer disc of the "appropriate documents of record" for this claim, as specified in Part 1.a of the Memorandum Order. In this case, the documents consist of 484 pages labeled FEMA-000001 to 000484.
Plaintiff's property located at 3721 Clarks Point Road, Baltimore, Maryland, was insured by Selective Insurance of the Southeast ("Selective") under Policy Number FLD-1009043 for $242,000.00 on the structure and $50,000.00 for the contents, subject to a $500.00 deductible on each. See FEMA-0000005. On September 18, 2003, Hurricane Isabel struck the Middle Atlantic States, including Maryland, causing flooding which resulted in damage to Plaintiff's home. See FEMA-000090.
On January 26, 2004, Plaintiff submitted to Selective a timely, signed and sworn Proof of Loss ("POL") in the amount of $88,639.37, after application of the $500.00 deductible, for building and contents damages. See FEMA-000131. On the same day, Plaintiff submitted a Statement as to Full Cost of Repair or Replacement in the amount of $8,456.65; FEMA-000132.
Selective's adjuster completed his review and recommended a net payment of $5,597.27. See FEMA-000121. Selective asked FEMA for assistance on the claim, and FEMA sent Ed Kristapsons, a General Adjuster, to re-inspect the property; FEMA-000120. Mr. Kristapsons inspected the property and reviewed the invoices provided by Plaintiff; see FEMA-000120 through FEMA-000122.
Plaintiff's dwelling is a post-FIRM [Flood Insurance Rate Map] structure, and is subject to limited Standard Flood Insurance Program ("SFIP") coverage for finished rooms located below the first elevated floor. Id., 44 CFR § 61, App. A(1) at Section III(A)(8), (B)(3), and FEMA-000154. It was FEMA's position that the lowest level of the dwelling was below the first elevated floor, and was thus subject to limited coverage.
In accordance with the terms of Plaintiff's SFIP, FEMA recommended to Selective a payment of $12,586.35 minus the $500.00 deductible -- a net payment of $12,086.35 -- for damage to Plaintiff's building, including electrical outlets, cleaning, stair repairs, and wiring. See FEMA-000165. FEMA also recommended that Selective compensate Plaintiff $2,131.00 minus the $500.00 deductible -- a net payment of $1,631.00 -- under the limited contents coverage of his SFIP for his freezer, food in the freezer, and the washer and dryer. See FEMA-000173.
On March 31, 2004, Selective rejected Plaintiff's POL and followed the guidance provided by FEMA to approve a net payment of $13,717.35 for the damage covered under SFIP to Plaintiff's building and contents. See FEMA-000154.
Plaintiff sought review by the Hurricane Isabel Task Force ("Task Force"). On July 15, 2004, Plaintiff was notified that the Task Force had completed its review and determined Plaintiff was not entitled to any additional compensation. See FEMA-000093.
II. Waiver Claim and Denial
On February 25, 2008, Plaintiff submitted an application for a waiver. See FEMA-000001 through FEMA-000009 and Exhibit A at ¶19. Plaintiff claimed a shortfall of $84,032.65 ($36,163.65 for the structure, and $47,869.00 for the contents). FEMA-000005. At FEMA-000019, the shortfall is totaled to be $84,532.65. On July ...