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Latrobe Eagles club sues over denial of insurance claims

| Thursday, March 27, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The Latrobe Fraternal Order of the Eagles has filed a lawsuit against the club's insurance company because claims for building damage were denied.

In documents filed with the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, the civil lawsuit alleges that Nova Casualty Co., which issued the policy, denied the Tony Angelo Eagles Aerie No. 1188 claim after “severe wind storms caused gusting winds to enter the elevator shaft ... creating a vacuum effect causing the walls to bulge out” of the building at 213-215 Spring St. on Nov. 20.

The club, a private fraternal organization, believed the exterior brick walls were unsafe, and an inspector from the company — also known as Alix Inc. or Hanover Insurance Group — sent a third-party adjuster to investigate the claims.

York Risk Services Group sent the club a letter on Dec. 3 denying its claim, according to court documents.

A representative from the adjuster's company declined to comment.

Latrobe Eagles claims a breach of contract as well as bad faith for delaying any reconsideration of the claims.

Latrobe attorney John Hauser, representing the fraternal organization, said in an email that the group paid $21,397 in premiums for insurance coverage from July 2013 to July 2014, a “substantial” amount.

“It is disappointing that now, when the club now has need for the coverage that they purchased in good faith, Nova Casualty Co. has refused to make timely payment on this claim,” he said in the email.

The club is seeking punitive damages, court costs and interest on the claims, totaling more than $30,000, according to court records.

Damage to the circa-1923 building caused the city of Latrobe to temporarily close the 200 block of Spring Street, blocking an exit to the city's parking garage. Repairs are under way, and the road and garage exits are open.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660.

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