Genesis Press Prevails in Court Battle, Wins $14.5M

GREENVILLE, SC—After deliberating for three hours on Wednesday and until about noon on Thursday, the jury came back with a verdict in favor of Genesis Press over insurance company The Hartford and awarded the printer $14.5 million for its loss stemming from a March 2008 fire. The insurance company said it plans to appeal.

The Hartford tried to prove that the owners of Genesis Press had conspired with family members to burn their nearly-bankrupt firm in order to collect insurance money, according to the Greenville News. But the jury found that The Hartford was wrong to deny the claim and had falsely accused Genesis’ owners of conspiring to burn down their business.

“An insurance company that takes your premium owes you a good faith, unbiased examination of the facts before they make a decision, and that did not occur in this case,” Genesis lawyer Dick Harpootlian told PI Weekly. “Small businesses like Genesis are at the mercy of multi-billion dollar insurance companies like Hartford, and if (the insurers) don’t play fair, there’s not much you can do.”

Harpootlian was dismayed at the insurer’s refusal to provide more support to Genesis in the weeks and months that followed the fire, which caused the printer to almost immediately lay off its entire second shift.

“The message here is you want to make sure your insurance company is on your side, not the side of profit,” said Harpootlian, who added that he hopes businesses will be willing to extend credit to Genesis.

The federal civil trial lasted 10 days and the case itself took two years to litigate.

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