Two San Antonio, Texas, roofers have filed a lawsuit against insurance giant USAA claiming defamation after an insurance adjuster told police damage to a customer’s roof may have been intentional.
The action, filed on May 30 in state District Court in San Antonio, became public after an article appeared in the June 8 edition of the San Antonio Express-News.
The complaint by Michael Moloney and Sergio Cantu, principals of Informed Roofing and Restoration LLC, alleges a USAA insurance adjuster made “false and defamatory statements” after filing a complaint with the San Antonio Police Department about suspected vandalism of a homeowner’s roof.
The March 29, 2022, complaint indicated that a USAA insurance adjuster, Jackie Johnston, told police that damage to shingles on the northeast side of a house she inspected appeared to have been “done intentionally by unknown person.”
Neither Moloney nor Cantu’s names appear in her statement.
The adjuster made her report 15 days after homeowner Scot Lee, who lives in a San Antonio-area gated community, reported roof damage to local police. In his report, Lee told police that a USAA adjuster informed him that damage to the roof “appeared to be mechanical.”
“In other words damage was done by other means than hail, limbs etc.,” the report stated.
Lee told police he had the roof checked by Informed Roofing and “was pretty sure they had not done anything intentional to damage the roof.” Nevertheless, he said USAA needed a report “either way.”
A police officer told Lee the department would investigate, and if there were evidence the roof was intentionally damaged, Lee would have to get an estimate of the cost of repairs; an officer would prepare a criminal mischief report, the police report said.
Neither Lee nor Informed Roofing and Restoration LLC’s lawyers responded to a request for comment. A USAA spokesman said it would not comment on active litigation.
In the lawsuit, the roofers said “…[they] have cultivated a steady stream of business” repairing and replacing roofs for more than two years in Scot Lee’s neighborhood, which they described as a community with many retired military personnel and their families. Many of those homeowners are insured by USAA, an insurance carrier catering exclusively to those with ties to the military.
Moloney and Cantu allege that Johnston’s statements to police “generally accuse (them) of having intentionally damaged the roof of Mr. Scot Lee — a customer of Informed Roofing — in the context and furtherance of vandalism, insurance fraud, and criminal mischief.”
The roofers claim her statements have caused them to lose earnings and damaged their reputation and character. The men are seeking unspecified damages from the San Antonio financial services company.