Brashears Furniture Inc. is suing its former insurance carrier for allegedly failing to pay a claim to rebuild its Springdale store after a tornado hit it last year.
Brashears, of Berryville, filed its lawsuit last month against State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance Co. of Columbus, Ohio. Brashears said in the lawsuit that its Springdale store sustained a direct hit from an EF-3 tornado on March 30, 2022.
The building received interior and exterior damage. An engineering analysis opinion in April 2022 said that the building needed to be demolished and rebuilt, according to the lawsuit.
A bid for the building to be razed and rebuilt was $4.1 million, Brashears said in the court filing.
But State Auto rejected the bid and made no counteroffer, the lawsuit said. State Auto said in its court filings in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville that it doesn’t agree that the building needs to be demolished and rebuilt.
In February, State Auto issued a nearly $900,000 payment to Brashears, and that payment was in addition to a $1.7 million payment, the lawsuit said. But that amount didn’t cover the entire losses, Brashears said in the case.
And to make matters worse, in June State Auto canceled Brashears’ policy.
Brashears is suing for breach of contract. It said that its damages include unpaid reimbursement of extended business income loss of at least $263,500. Other alleged losses include loss of property, customers and exclusive vendor contracts.
Brashears operated at the Springdale location for more than 15 years, but damage from the tornado required them to close, the suit said.
Brashears has stores in Berryville and Branson, Missouri.
Brashears also is accusing State Auto of bad faith. Brashears is represented by Justin Bennett of Roy Lambert Lovelace Bingaman & Wood of Springdale.
State Auto said in its court filings that it denies the allegations of wrongdoing. And it denies that Brashears is entitled to any damages.
State Auto is represented by attorneys Stuart Miller, Emily Runyon and Blake Brizzolara of the Rogers office of Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard.