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OFF BEAT: Owners of building damaged in federal marijuana raid sue for $75,000


Owners of a large, commercial building are suing their insurance broker for allegedly failing to inform their insurer that they rented their Montana property to an operation growing medical marijuana.

The lawsuit seeks to recover $75,000 in damages allegedly caused to the building and its heating and electrical systems when federal agents raided it in 2011 along with other Montana medical pot growing operations.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Helena, Mont., reportedly alleges that in 2010 the building’s owners told their broker, Insurance Unlimited Inc. in Helena, that they rented the greenhouse to the marijuana growers.

But the brokers failed to inform insurer Farmers Alliance Mutual Insurance Co. of that fact, the lawsuit contends.

The broker allegedly told the building owners it had informed the insurer and that the building was properly covered. But when the owners filed a claim for the damage caused during the raid, the underwriter declined it.

Had the owners been properly notified that their coverage request had been declined, they could have purchased insurance elsewhere, the civil complaint reportedly alleges.