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The $32M Question: How Should Insurers Approach First-Party Claims? There are at least 32 million reasons why insurance companies should take mold claims very seriously.

In May 2001, a Texas jury awarded Melinda Ballard $32 million, finding Farmers Insurance Company had committed bad faith in handling a first-party mold claim in Ballard v. Fire Ins. Exch. Prior to the jury verdict, Farmers had spent over a million dollars in an attempt to address the mold problems in the Ballard residence.

Melinda Ballard initially received more than $100,000 from Farmers to repair water damage to her 22-room mansion. The water damage was allegedly not properly addressed and members of the Ballard family subsequently began experiencing dizziness and memory loss.

On her own initiative, Ms. Ballard had the home checked by a mold expert. After a determination that the home was infected with several harmful molds, the Ballard family vacated the home.

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