ELIZABETH FUGATE v. TENNESSEE FARMERS INSURANCE COMPANIES (Tenn. Ct. App. December 2, 2009)
Elizabeth Fugate ("Plaintiff") had a homeowners insurance policy issued by Tennessee Farmers Insurance Company ("Defendant"). In April 2007, a retaining wall on Plaintiff's property collapsed. Defendant denied the claim asserting, among other things, that the collapse was caused by built up water pressure and that the retaining wall had been defectively constructed. Defendant asserted that both of these causes of the collapse were covered by policy exclusions.
Following a trial, the Trial Court determined that the retaining wall had been properly built and there was insurance coverage pursuant to the policy. The Trial Court entered a judgment in favor of Plaintiff for $18,680. We conclude that the Trial Court improperly considered personal knowledge which he possessed when deciding this case. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment and remand this case for a new trial before a different trial judge.
Opinion may be found at: