179 F.3d 590 (8th Cir. 1999), 98-3222, State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co. v. Mitchell

Docket Nº:98-3222
Citation:179 F.3d 590
Opinion Judge:HANSEN, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co., Appellee, v. Paul B. Mitchell; Geraldine L. Mitchell, Appellants
Attorney:Counsel who presented argument on behalf of the appellant was Blair K. Drazic of Maryland Heights, Missouri. Counsel who presented argument on behalf of the appellee was Robert W. Cockerham of St. Louis, Missouri.
Judge Panel:Before RICHARD S. ARNOLD and HANSEN, Circuit Judges, and STROM, [1] District Judge.
Case Date:May 28, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 590

179 F.3d 590 (8th Cir. 1999)

State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co., Appellee,

v.

Paul B. Mitchell; Geraldine L. Mitchell, Appellants

No. 98-3222

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 28, 1999

         Submitted: March 8, 1999.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. 4:96CV1523 SNL. Honorable Stephen Limbaugh.

         Counsel who presented argument on behalf of the appellant was Blair K. Drazic of Maryland Heights, Missouri.

         Counsel who presented argument on behalf of the appellee was Robert W. Cockerham of St. Louis, Missouri.

         Before RICHARD S. ARNOLD and HANSEN, Circuit Judges, and STROM, 1 District Judge.

          OPINION

          HANSEN, Circuit Judge.

         Paul and Geraldine Mitchell (the Mitchells)

Page 591

appeal the district court's 2 judgment entered pursuant to a jury verdict in favor of State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company (State Auto). We affirm.

         The relevant facts viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict are as follows. State Auto issued an insurance policy to the Mitchells for property located in St. Louis, Missouri. The policy included a clause excepting from coverage losses occurring due to " vandalism and malicious mischief, theft or attempted theft or breakage of glass and safety glazing materials if the dwelling has been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days immediately before the loss." (App. at 27.) The policy also excluded coverage if the insured " intentionally concealed or misrepresented any material fact or circumstance relating to [the] insurance." ( Id. at 28.)

         The Mitchells had leased the property to Blanche Hines. Mrs. Hines and her husband last occupied the property on July 15, 1995. The Mitchells filed a claim under the State Auto policy for damages allegedly resulting from a theft that occurred on September 20, 1995. The Mitchells initially claimed a total loss of $ 2,100, but later increased their claim to approximately $ 89,000. The Mitchells also made various misrepresentations to State Auto. For example, even though the property had remained unoccupied after July 15, the Mitchells represented to State Auto that their tenant had not left the property until September 1995, shortly before the alleged loss. State Auto denied the claim in its entirety. State Auto asserted that the Mitchells misrepresented...

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