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Napa Valley Resort Destroyed By Glass Fire Sues Insurance Carriers

by Kerana Todorov
November 02, 2021

Entities that own Calistoga Ranch, the Napa Valley luxury resort that burned to the ground during the Glass Fire in 2020, sustaining more than $100 million in losses, have filed a lawsuit against their insurers and claims adjustor, according to court records.

The plaintiffs, including Calistoga Ranch Investors LLC and Auberge Resorts LLC, the resort’s manager, allege the insurance carriers refused to pay their “full limits coverage,” according to the complaint filed Oct. 28 in Napa County Superior Court.

The insurance program should have insured Calistoga Ranch for up to $100 million instead of $58.35 million, according to the complaint.

The 157-acre estate near Calistoga, which featured 48 lodges, a vineyard, hiking trails, a restaurant, a spa and other amenities were among the Napa Valley businesses burned in September 2020.

Calistoga Ranch, whose investors have included vintner Bill Foley, included private residences, guest cabins and common areas. In 2015, Travel + Leisure named Calistoga Ranch one of its top 50 hotels in the world, the complaint noted.

The defendants include AIG Specialty Insurance Co.; Arch Specialty Insurance Co.; Landmark American Insurance Co.; Homeland and Insurance Co. of New York; and Interstate Fire and Casualty Co.

The complaint also names insurer adjuster Mark Voronin as a defendant, according to the filing.

Voronin had stated the insurance program limit was $100 million, but that the policies did not provide the $100 million for one location, according to court filings. The plaintiffs disagreed.

Voronin, allegedly made “material misrepresentations as part of the claim adjustment process, including representing that the Policies did not have a $100,000,000 blanket limit and instead included a far lower limit of liability,” according to the court filing.

On Monday, Voronin said in an email that he had not seen and was not aware of the complaint.

Other Insurers not named in the lawsuit have paid $15 million, according to the complaint.

This is the second lawsuit Calistoga Ranch entities have filed in Napa County Superior Court after the Glass Fire.

In July, dozens of plaintiffs who own shares of ownership in residential lodges at Calistoga Ranch alleged Auberge Resorts LLC failed to obtain enough insurance so that Calistoga Ranch could be rebuilt, according to the complaint filed in July.

The plaintiffs allege Auberge Resorts, a company based in Mill Valley, reduced the policy coverage four months before the Glass Fire without notifying the plaintiffs, according to the complaint. In addition, two other Auberge entities, Auberge du Soleil and Solage, were added to the same insurance program that covered Calistoga Ranch, according to court filings.

As a result, the insurance program only covered Calistoga Ranch for about $58.35 million, according to the complaint. Auberge du Soleil was covered for about $42 million and Solage, for about $68.5 million, according to court filings. Both Auberge du Soleil and Solage sustained some damages during the Glass Fire, according to court records.

The plaintiffs called Auberge Resorts’ decision to reduce Calistoga Ranch’s insurance coverage “reckless,” according to court records. The company knew “the risk of fire in California,” according to a court filing.

Auberge Resorts has challenged the allegations, according to the court filings. A judge in October ordered that the plaintiffs could pursue the breach of contract and negligence but not two other allegations, including fraud, according to the court filings. The plaintiffs can file an amended complaint, according to the order.

Calistoga Ranch opened in 2004. The Glass Fire, which started Sept. 27, 2020, scorched about 67,500 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties before it was contained on Oct. 20, 2020, according to CAL FIRE. The Napa County Sheriff’s deputies evacuated Calistoga Ranch Resort on Sept. 27, 2020. The resort was destroyed on Sept. 28, 2020.

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