Lebanon Mayor Mark Messer sued insurance company over his house fire

Around midnight on August 14, 2021, Lebanese Mayor Mark Messer’s house caught fire. The house and personal belongings inside were destroyed as a result.

Allstate, Messers’ insurance company, investigated the fire and found it was “more likely than not” caused intentionally by the actions or instructions of the insured person, according to a letter filed in court. of the American District last week.

The investigation also revealed that it was more likely than not that Messer had misrepresented or concealed information relating to the fire and the loss of property.

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Messer and his wife filed a lawsuit in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas against Allstate for breach of contract and bad faith in June.

Messer’s attorney, Matthew Brown, said in a statement to The Enquirer that the Messers’ lives had been ‘turned upside down’ by the fire and that they had provided information to Allstate for many months in an effort to rebuild their home and their life.

Brown said Allstate refused all requests from the Gentlemen for information about the fire and refused to honor its commitment to support its policyholders in the event of a tragedy.

“It was only after being sued that Allstate responded in an effort to cover up its failure to protect its policyholders in this tragedy by making false and salacious allegations. We look forward to bringing this case to court and hold Allstate accountable to its insured,” Brown said. said.

The Enquirer called and emailed the two attorneys representing Allstate in the lawsuit, but did not immediately receive a response.

Lebanese Mayor Mark Messer listens to a voter during a city council meeting, December 14, 2021.

In their complaint, the gentlemen said Allstate implied that certain documents were required under the insurance policy when they were not. They also said Allstate’s “foot-dragging” in investigating the fire means the cost of rebuilding their home has increased significantly.

In court documents, Allstate denied misrepresenting the insurance policy and any delays in processing Messers’ claim.

In November 2021, Allstate asked the gentlemen to provide documents including tax returns, bank statements, phone records and documents related to the home remodel. Allstate also requested access to Messer’s personal Facebook archives, according to the complaint filed by Messers.

The gentlemen said they provided the documents and access because Allstate suggested the documents were required under the insurance policy.

Allstate denied asking for anything not required by policy. The company said the Messers responded to some of its requests for information, but not all.

Allstate said in a letter to Messrs. that his investigation had determined that it was more likely than not that Messrs. had “distorted and/or concealed information” regarding their whereabouts and what they were doing at the time of the fire and phone calls and text messages with some people on the day of the fire.

The Ohio Fire Marshal is investigating the fire. The cause remains undetermined.

Erin Glynn is the Butler, Warren and Clermont counties watchdog reporter for the Report For America program. The Enquirer needs local donors to help fund its grant-funded position. If you would like to support Glynn’s work, you can donate to his Report For America post on this website or email his editor Carl Weiser at cweiser@enquirer.com to find out how you can help fund his work.

Do you know anything she should know? Send her a note at eglynn@enquirer.com and follow her on Twitter at @ee_glynn.