Samuel Bruchey Obtains a $2.537 Million jury Verdict in Riverside Superior Court on behalf of Temecula Couple
June 24, 2019 – Temecula, CA – A Riverside County Superior Court jury yesterday awarded $2.537 million to a Temecula couple who thought they had purchased their dream property, only to live out a nightmare.
In 2012, Keith and Patricia Jones purchased a sprawling hilltop parcel in Temecula, CA and began construction on their dream home. Their dream quickly turned into a nightmare, however, when the Joneses realized they had no legal access to the property, which prevented them from connecting the parcel to a road or utilities.
The couple filed a claim with their title insurance company, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, asking it to cure the lack of legal access or pay the $300,000 policy benefit. The company did neither, and instead denied the Joneses’ claim. After a three-week trial before Hon. David M. Chapman, the jury unanimously concluded Commonwealth’s denial was in bad faith.
“This is a tremendous day of justice and affirmation for Keith and Patty Jones,” said attorney Samuel Bruchey, a partner at Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP. “Their title insurance company refused to help when they needed it most, and they lost everything. Fortunately, the jury got it right.”
Filed in 2016, the case was litigated for three years, and included two separate trials. In the first phase, a bench trial in December 2018, the court ruled that legal access to the Joneses’ property did not exist at the time Commonwealth denied the Joneses claim. In the second phase, concluded Monday, a jury unanimously ruled that Commonwealth acted in bad faith.
In addition to the $300,000 policy benefit, the jury awarded $600,000 in emotional distress damages, $400,000 in lost wages and other consequential damages.
After trial, a juror reached out to Mr. Bruchey complimenting him on his work in the courtroom:
Mr Bruchey. I was the alternate juror in the Jones Case. I just got a call from the court!!!! Congratulations to you all!!! I Truly Enjoyed Watching you work. I was amazed with your conviction to this case. You dear sir are a credit to your profession and the Jones’s were lucky to have you. I am so very happy for the outcome. I was sad I did not get to sit on the jury, but am in total agreement with the verdict. It could not have hoped for a better verdict. I would Love to tell the Jones how happy I am for them. It was heartbreaking to hear that story. Well NOW they start a new and move forward. All the Best to them and to you. It was a pleasure to be chosen. Hopefully this will change how many companies treat their clients. Being in retail for 35 years. I truly know how important that is … hope they got a good stiff fine!!! Again. Congratulations to you ALL!!!!
The case is Keith and Patty Jones v. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Riverside Superior Court Case No. RIC1612837.