The owners of the former Boardwalk Apartments say their insurance company should have paid an additional $1 million in claims after a deadly 2005 fire destroyed a building at the west Lawrence complex.
Attorneys with the Kansas City, Mo., firm Husch Blackwell LLP filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of Boardwalk Apartments LC in federal court alleging breach of contract against State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Co. of Ohio.
“State Auto has breached the policy by its failure to pay Boardwalk’s business income losses in full, and said failure is without just cause or excuse,” the suit alleged.
Three residents, Nicole Bingham, Yolanda Riddle and Jose Gonzalez died in the Oct. 7, 2005, early-morning blaze at one building at the complex, which was north of Sixth Street and Lawrence Avenue. A jury in 2007 convicted another resident, Jason Allen Rose, now 26, of several counts, including aggravated arson and three counts of involuntary manslaughter. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
Boardwalk owners in 2009 also settled a $12 million lawsuit with fire victims.
A new complex, now called Tuckaway Apartments at Frontier, in 2010 and 2011 replaced the 1960s-era Boardwalk Apartments complex, and the federal lawsuit filed reveals several disagreements between Boardwalk company owners and State Auto.
Boardwalk’s attorneys in the suit also allege:
• State Auto paid $150,000 under the policy to cover a portion of the time the burned building was unable to generate business income, but under its policy Boardwalk is entitled to payment from the date of the loss up to one month after the building was replaced, which was July 22, 2011.
• Because the two sides agreed to a reimbursement amount of $16,799 per month, Boardwalk incurred nearly $1.2 million in lost business income because of the fire.
• Its policy limit was about $1.1 million, so Boardwalk’s owners claim they are still owed about $950,000.
• They also seek another $90,000 because they say State Auto delayed Boardwalk’s ability to replace the building sooner because of a separate lawsuit State Auto filed in Missouri federal court against the Boardwalk company.
Kyle Anderson, a State Auto spokesman, said Wednesday the company did not comment on ongoing litigation.
The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial in Kansas City, Kan. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has not scheduled any hearings yet in the case.