State Farm Insurance Not Liable For Some Dude's Stolen Pot
If the cops come and raid your house, find a whole bunch of weed growing on your property and seize all that ganja, don't bother trying to file an insurance claim for the missing marijuana. Just ask Costa Mesa resident Greg Barnett, whose house was raided by city cops back in 2007. They confiscated 12 pot plants growing in his backyard, according to a Nov. 1 story in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.
After the cops, who never charged him with a crime, destroyed his plants, he filed a $98,000 claim with State Farm General Insurance Company, which rejected it, leading to his lawsuit that was just shut down by California's Fourth District Court of Appeals.
Apparently, Barnett didn't only try to get paid by State Farm for the seized weed, but also sought to get his plants back too. In 2008, he filed an Orange County Superior Court motion in an effort to force the Costa Mesa Police Department to hand back the pot, but the court denied his claim and the cops promptly destroyed the plants. When State Farm rejected his insurance claim, he tried to sue the company, claiming that his policy covered any property stolen from his residence. But a trial judge denied that argument, saying the cops were within their rights to take the marijuana.
This week's appeals court ruling pretty much ends that story, although the judge's ruling seems to leave unclear the question of whether Barnett would have had a case if common criminals had stolen the weed in question. In any case, for now the takeaway for State Farm's 420-friendly customers is that if you lose your weed, State Farm ain't there.