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Gethsemane FBH Church of God v. Nationwide Ins. Co.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

April 7, 2020, Decided; April 7, 2020, Filed

CIVIL ACTION NO. 19-03677

Opinion

MEMORANDUM

Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

I. Introduction

Presently before the Court is Defendant, Nationwide Insurance Company d/b/a Scottsdale Insurance Company's ("Nationwide"), motion for summary judgement on Plaintiff, Gethsemane FBH Church of God's ("Gethsemane"), claims for breach of contract and bad faith. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Nationwide's motion.

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

Gethsemane and Nationwide entered an insurance contract providing commercial-property coverage for the period of June 4, 2017, through June 4, 2018. Gethsemane's roof collapsed on May 13, 2018. Shortly afterwards, Gethsemane made a claim against the policy. Via a letter dated July 12, 2018, Nationwide denied coverage because an engineering report1 authorized by Nationwide determined that the cause of the collapse was a combination of deferred [*2]  maintenance, improper roof slope, and poor drainage. None of which were covered by the policy.

Gethsemane disagreed and thus filed its two-count complaint in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Nationwide timely removed this case to this Court, invoking diversity jurisdiction. Nationwide's answer denied the complaint's material averments.

Bill Underkoffler, a public adjuster retained by Gethsemane, testified that (1) the weather "close" to the date of Gethsemane's loss was heavily windy and rainy, but he could not remember "what the actual dates were"; (2) he disagreed with the statement by Nationwide that "[a]pparently long-term damage from a leaky roof led to roof collapse"; and (3) he doubted that the long-term damage from a leaky roof was the "main factor" of the collapse. Underkoffler did not offer an opinion as to what caused the roof's collapse. Plaintiff has not produced any other evidence suggesting the cause of the roof's collapse was a covered event under the policy.2

Following the close of discovery, Nationwide filed the motion for summary judgment at issue here and Gethsemane filed a response in opposition. The matter is now ripe for disposition. [*3] 

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60780 *

GETHSEMANE FBH CHURCH OF GOD, Plaintiff, v. NATIONWIDE INSURANCE COMPANY, d/b/a Scottsdale Insurance Co., Defendant.

CORE TERMS

collapse, roof, bad faith, coverage, genuine, summary judgment, summary judgment motion, material fact, long-term, nonmoving, insured