In a massive win for any Michigan homeowner insured with State Farm Fire and Casualty Company under policy form HW-2122, the Federal Court in Detroit agreed with attorney Rabih Hamawi and held that “with one exception, the [appraisal clause] provisions in Policy Form HW-2122 cited by Plaintiffs make the appraisal process far more burdensome than the Michigan Legislature intended. As such, they are contrary to MCL 500.2833(1)(m) and void as against [Michigan’s] public policy.”
On August 21, 2021, federal court Judge Arthur J. Tarnow from the Eastern District of Michigan issued his opinion in Hart et. al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (State Farm) where he ordered State Farm to proceed to appraisal on the amount and scope of the insureds’ fire and smoke losses that State Farm had already conceded liability on.
Most importantly, in his 19-page opinion, and in response to State Farm’s refusal to proceed to appraisal, Judge Tarnow found that “with one exception, the [appraisal clause] provisions in Policy Form HW-2122 cited by Plaintiffs make the appraisal process far more burdensome than the Michigan Legislature intended. As such, they are contrary to MCL 500.2833(1)(m) and void as against public policy.”
Judge Tarnow reformed the contested provisions in State Farm’s homeowners policy form HW-2122 and concluded “the challenged provisions of Policy Form HW-2122 are void and shall be substituted with the relevant mandatory provisions of MCL 500.2833(1)(m) as if they had been expressly included in the policy. Defendant remains liable to Plaintiffs in the same manner and to the same extent as if the voided provisions had not been included.”
This is a major win for every homeowner that is insured with State Farm under policy form HW-2122. This opinion is believed to be the first opinion from a state or federal court in Michigan holding that “the challenged provisions of Policy form HW-2122 are void" as against Michigan law and Michigan’s public policy.
About the Author
Rabih Hamawi is a principal at Law Office of Rabih Hamawi, P.C. and focuses his practice on representing policyholders in fire, property damage, and insurance-coverage disputes with insurers and in errors-and-omissions cases against insurance agents. He has extensive expertise in insurance coverage and is a licensed property and casualty, life, accident, and health insurance producer and counselor (LIC). He earned the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designations. He can be reached at (248) 905-1133.