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Help?! Moving Company fighting me on lost harddrives and files

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Help?! Moving Company fighting me on lost harddrives and files
on May 8, 2005 at 4:03:20 pm

Help!? ...Let me start ..with the short version. Six boxes of electronics were stolen from the moving company when we moved from Sacramento to Atlanta earlier this year. We've been paid back for the hardware, media 100 video card, scsi hard drives, stereo, etc. But the insurance company is refusing to compenstate us for digital files. Those files include original wildlife artwork created by my better half, as well as various logos and designs. It represents ten years worth of her work. The files also included all the graphics, animations and some EDL's for clients which I may still work with.

The insurance company says the files were not our property. They insist the files were property of the clients who possess them. But theclients do not have the original files, so to recreate any "look" would mean starting over. And the insurance company didn't take into consideration the portfolio value. Debbie was going to use those files to put together her new portfolio. It really hurt her in her job search.

So what are industry standards when it comes to this type of "intellectual property"? Do we have a legal leg to stand on? I'm checking around with attorneys I know, but I'd love some feed back.

Thanks a bunch...Digital George in Atlanta

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Peter Ralph
Re: Help?! Moving Company fighting me on lost harddrives and files
on May 8, 2005 at 6:55:21 pm

What rights you have are determined by the contract. The fact that the insurance company is arguing about ownership of the digital assests suggests that you may have a case. You need to consult an attorney who specialises in insurance law. Three legal principles that work in your favor:

1. Any ambiguity in a contract is interpreted against the person who drew up the contract.
2. Insurance contracts are "uberrimae fidei" (utmost good faith). This means that if the insurance company acts in "bad faith" , for instance by lieing to you about your coverage, they may be subject to punitive damages. The suggestion that they might be acting in bad faith is guaranteed to get their attention.
3. Following on from 2 - it is an established principle of insurance law that "the reasonable expectations of the insured must be protected". This means that a subclause on page 20 of the contract cannot be used to deny you basic coverage.

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