Rosenberg-Wohl Takes on State Farm Fire and Casualty Company


USA Herald – (San Francisco, CA) In a recent case, Rosenberg-Wohl v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company; Certified for publication on 7/11/23, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company won an appeal against Katherine Rosenberg-Wohl, a plaintiff who had a homeowners insurance policy with the company. The case involved a limitation provision in the policy that required lawsuits to be started within one year after the date of loss or damage.

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Rosenberg-Wohl had noticed that her outside staircase had become unsafe and needed to be replaced. She authorized the work and contacted State Farm to submit a claim for the money she had spent. However, State Farm denied her claim. Later, Rosenberg-Wohl’s husband reached out to State Farm to see if anything could be done, and a State Farm adjuster said that the claim had been reopened, but it was denied again a few days later.

In October 2020, Rosenberg-Wohl filed two lawsuits against State Farm in San Francisco Superior Court. One alleged two causes of action, breach of the policy and for bad faith. That lawsuit was removed to federal court and was resolved against Rosenberg-Wohl on a motion to dismiss based on the one-year limitation provision. It is currently on appeal in the Ninth Circuit.

The other action, the one before us, purports to allege a claim for violation of California’s unfair competition law. This case was also resolved against Rosenberg-Wohl, also based on the limitation provision—here, when the trial court sustained a demurrer to the second amended complaint without leave to amend.

In essence, the court denied Rosenberg-Wohl the chance to amend her claims, concluding the lawsuit in State Farm’s favor; however, this saga doesn’t end here.

Rosenberg-Wohl appealed, asserting two arguments: (1) the one-year limitation provision does not apply to her unfair competition claim, and (2) even if it does, State Farm waived the limitation provision. However, the court affirmed the decision of the trial court.

For those who may not be familiar with legal terms, a demurrer is a pleading in a lawsuit that objects to or challenges a pleading filed by an opposing party. In this case, State Farm filed a demurrer to Rosenberg-Wohl’s second amended complaint, arguing that it did not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. The trial court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend, meaning that Rosenberg-Wohl could not file another amended complaint.

An unfair competition claim is a type of legal action that alleges that a business has engaged in deceptive or unfair practices that harm consumers or competitors. In this case, Rosenberg-Wohl argued that State Farm’s denial of her claim and its reliance on the one-year limitation provision constituted unfair competition.

A limitation provision is a clause in a contract that limits the liability of one or more parties. In this case, the limitation provision in Rosenberg-Wohl’s insurance policy with State Farm required lawsuits to be started within one year after the date of loss or damage.

This case has important insurance implications for policyholders. It highlights how giant insurance companies like State Farm often obfuscate their responsibility to pay their insured customers and policyholders. The case also raises questions about the fairness of limitation provisions in insurance policies and whether they should be enforced in certain situations.

It is important for policyholders to read and understand the provisions of their policy so that they do not have a similar fate as Rosenberg-Wohl. By being aware of any limitations or exclusions in their policy, policyholders can take steps to protect their rights and ensure that they receive the coverage they are entitled to.

In conclusion, this case serves as a reminder of the importance of carefully reviewing insurance policies and understanding their terms and limitations. It also highlights the need for consumers to be vigilant in protecting their rights and holding insurance companies accountable for their actions.

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By Samuel Lopez | Legal News Contributor for USA Herald