Northern California Record

Friday, November 15, 2019

Church Mutual Insurance seeks more than $300,000 from individual over building fire


By Noddy A. Fernandez | Oct 4, 2018

Insurance 05

FRESNO – An insurance company is seeking more than $300,000 from an individual for damages it paid on a claim for a building destroyed by arson.

Church Mutual Insurance Co. filed a complaint on Sept. 11 in the Fresno County Superior Court against Joseph James Welch and Does 1 to 50 alleging conversion, nuisance and trespass.

According to the complaint, on July 15, 2017, a fire broke out at a property owned by The First Presbyterian Church of Orange Grove, which was insured by the plaintiff, and it was later determined that the fire was intentionally set. The suit states the building was destroyed.

The suit states Welch "ultimately confessed" to setting the fire and was sentenced.

The plaintiff claims it paid the church $309,955.83 in insurance coverage as a result of the fire and is liable to subrogation payment fees from defendant Welch.

The plaintiff holds Welch responsible because the defendant allegedly without knowledge or permission of the church, intentionally started the fire by way of arson.

The plaintiff seeks judgment for damages of $309,955.83, together with prejudgment interest, costs of suit, and for such other costs and further relief as the court may deem just and proper. It is represented by Michael P. Acain of McKay, de Lorimier & Acain in Los Angeles.

Fresno County Superior Court case number 18CECG03384

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Fresno County Superior CourtMcKay, de Lorimier & Acain

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