Crime | Kentucky

Lesbian Couple Who Lost House In Fire Sued By Insurance Company

You may remember when back in September of 2010 the rural Kentucky home of lesbian couple Carol Ann and Laura Stutte was defaced with anti-gay slurs and burned down in a suspected arson fire.

HouseA few months ago, the couple sued their one-time neighbor neighbor, who had harassed them over a five-year period before the fire, claiming she set the fire.

But earlier this month, even though the local authorities (who are working with the FBI and state arson officials) are still investigating the cause of the fire, the couple's home insurance company, American National Property and Casualty Company, has sued them accusing them of intentionally starting the fire.

PFLAG is taking up the couple's case and claims that the insurance company is simply looking for a way to avoid paying the $880,000 the couple is seeking. Said attorney David Massey:

"My reaction to the lawsuit is that this is an insurance company that declined to pay their claim and is looking for a way to get out of paying the claim," Massey said. "I don't know what kind of evidence they claim to have, but whatever it is, I wouldn't believe it, because I believe them, I believe in them, I believe in their integrity, and all of us in PFLAG believe that they are the victims."

Watch a news report from WBIR, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. My advice to this couple is don't give up. In 2003 my partner and I had a major house fire where we lost a dear pet and most of our belongings. The insurance company tried to do the same thing (claim we set the fire), even though the fire investigator ruled it was due to faulty wiring. We had to hire an attorney and fight with them for every nickel and dime of the policy. However, we never gave up and eventually the insurance company had no choice but to honor the policy.

    Posted by: Frederick | May 28, 2011 11:56:37 AM

  2. It is TENNESSEE not KENTUCKY!!!! Please correct this in the printed blog entry.

    Posted by: Bobby | May 28, 2011 1:38:47 PM

  3. $880,000?!

    Posted by: JMG | May 28, 2011 2:48:52 PM

  4. Frederick

    Sorry to hear about your challenge and glad you had the fortitude to stand up. I suspect that the insurance Company , like many, don't expect Gay Folks to follow through or take a stand.

    In this case, what grounds does the Insurance company or proof not to settle this claim? I guess that is part of the game. The burden of proof always seems to be higher for LGBT folks.

    Posted by: Jerry | May 28, 2011 4:43:53 PM

  5. @JMG, my thoughts exactly. In rural KY??

    Posted by: Paul R | May 28, 2011 7:23:44 PM

  6. $880,000[!]

    I'm no friend of insurance companies, but they undoubtedly have evidence that points to arson and insurance fraud.

    Why are police still investigating? This is not a good sign for the two women.

    I remember hearing about this last fall, and honestly my first thought was arson and insurance fraud.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 28, 2011 8:56:53 PM

  7. So that's three of us who think PFLAG either went out too far on a limb in providing support or knows way more to the story than we do, because based on the pictures there's no way that place was worth $880K (again: rural Kentucky) unless they were storing incredibly valuable objects inside.

    Which perhaps they were, but that should be part of the story. Insurance companies usually settle much faster than this, and insurance companies don't pay for emotional distress.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 28, 2011 11:25:39 PM

  8. what the? Of course a house and all its contents can easily be worth $880,000. Do you not know how to use a calculator? Yes their was arson involved... but that doesn't mean the owner did it.

    Posted by: Nosey | May 29, 2011 2:40:10 AM

  9. The fact that the garage is of three-car size -- look at the photo, please -- suggests that the dollar figure is not excessive.

    Posted by: Clare | May 29, 2011 7:10:39 AM

  10. Vonore,Tennessee:

    *The median income for a household in the town was $34,653, and the median income for a family was $41,125. Males had a median income of $31,429 versus $25,956 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,613. About 6.1% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.


    *There were 1,162 people, 496 households, and 333 families residing in the town. The population density was 133.6 people per square mile (51.6/km²). There were 571 housing units at an average density of 65.6 per square mile (25.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.52% White, 0.17% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.69% from other races, and 3.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.58% of the population.....[Vonore celebrates diversity],_Tennessee#Demographics

    ---------800,000.+ sounds excessive

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 29, 2011 10:56:10 AM

  11. Jerry said:

    ' I suspect that the insurance Company , like many, don't expect Gay Folks to follow through or take a stand.'


    Sorry, that's an odd statement to make. Why wouldn't gay folks 'follow through', and why wouldn't insurance companies expect gays to follow through? If anything, they'd be afraid of lawsuits, including civil rights lawsuits.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 29, 2011 11:19:39 AM

  12. Sorry - I am a queer and a claims adjuster and that house is not worth $880,000. Not in that area - not for that house. Some of you folks don't know anything about real estate and if you think that house is worth $880K I have a bridge to sell you.

    Posted by: David | May 29, 2011 12:32:38 PM

  13. But...but...what about all the Whorhal & Picasso....I'm sure the Cayan was smoke damaged in the garage........ Uh...let me pull out my calculator. I certainly know how to use one.....

    Posted by: james | May 29, 2011 2:14:57 PM

  14. Typically there's the issue of the house, plus the contents, plus any additional living expenses during rebuilding. So the claim for a total loss can easily be over double the actual building value, especially if things need to be brought up to code(which is an additional coverage). $880k still sounds high, but that could reflect their suing the company for bad faith as well.

    Posted by: BGKev | May 30, 2011 5:29:34 PM

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