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Gehani v. American Zurich Ins. Co.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

December 12, 2017

RAM GEHANI a/k/a TARO GEHANI, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN ZURICH INSURANCE CO., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge.

         After a fire damaged Plaintiff Ram Gehani's real property, which he had insured with Defendant American Zurich Insurance Company (“Zurich”), and Zurich denied his claim under the insurance policy, Gehani sued Zurich for breaching the policy. Zurich has moved for summary judgment and, because Gehani failed to substantially comply with the policy's requirements for filing a proof of loss, I will grant the motion.[1]

         Background [2]

         Zurich provided builder's risk coverage (“Policy”) to Gehani for the property located at 1933 McHenry Street in Baltimore, Maryland (“the Property”), for the period of April 1, 2014 through April 1, 2015. Jt. Stmt. ¶¶ 1-2, ECF No. 22-3. The Policy imposed the following duties on Gehani:

You must see that the following are done in the event of loss or damage to Covered Property:
. . .
2. Give us [Zurich] prompt notice of the loss or damage. Include a description of the property involved.
3. As soon as possible, give us a description of how, when and where the loss or damage occurred.
. . .
6. As often as may be reasonably required, permit us to inspect the property proving the loss or damage and examine your books and records.
. . .
8. Send us a signed, sworn proof of loss containing the information we request to settle the claim. You must do this within 60 days after our request. We will supply you with the necessary forms.
. . .
10. Cooperate with us in the investigation or settlement of the claim.

Policy 24, Jt. Ex. 1, ECF No. 22-5.[3] The Policy provided that “[n]o one may bring a legal action against [Zurich] . . . unless . . . [t]here has been full compliance with all the terms of this Coverage Part . . . .” Id. at 25.

         The Property was damaged by fire on October 21, 2014, and “Gehani learned of the loss ‘six days' after the fire.” Jt. Stmt. ¶¶ 5-6 (citations omitted). Plaintiff contends that he “received a copy of the initial report from the Baltimore City Fire Department sometime after November 5, 2014, and provided a copy of the same to the Defendant soon thereafter.” Pl.'s Opp'n 3 (citing Gehani Dep. 28:1-14, Jt. Ex. 4, ECF No. 22-8). But, at his deposition, he testified that “two to three days” after the fire department called him to inform him about the fire, he “went to the fire department to collect the report.” Gehani Dep. 26:15-17. He also testified that he received the Incident Report “10 to 15 days . . . after the fire.” Id. at 28:23-29:1. Thus, taking the evidence in the light most favorable to Gehani as the non-moving party, the fire happened on October 21, 2014; Gehani learned about it on October 27, 2014; and he obtained the Incident Report between October 29 and November 5, 2014. Additionally, while the deposition page he cites includes his testimony that he ...


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