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Former Owner Of Seal Beach Salon Sues Insurance Company Over Massacre Handling

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SEAL BEACH (CBSLA.com) — One year after a gunman killed eight people at a Seal Beach hair salon, the former owner is suing her insurance company for allegedly acting in bad faith.

Sandra “Sandi” Fannin, whose husband Randy died in the massacre, said Employers Mutual Casualty Company treated her with “disdain” and only gave her a month to reopen Salon Meritage.

“We maintain that the insurance company treated Sandi absolutely horribly and without any consideration for what we all know she has been through. They treated her just like another claimant that they were trying to low-ball or short-change on her insurance claim,” Fannin’s attorney Howard Shernoff said.

Shernoff claims EMC dragged its feet and made several demands for documents, as Fannin grieved her husband of 20 years as well as their colleagues killed in the salon.

Eventually, EMC sent “mystery payments” totaling $27,000, well below what Fannin feels she is owed.

“And they used the word ‘should’: ‘She should be up and running in 30 days after the shooting.’ And, to us, and to anybody, that is an offensive position,” Shernoff said.

Many in the community, including Fannin and former employees, want to see Salon Meritage reopen.

The business has been completely remodeled. Fannin has asked salon employee Erma Costa to take over.

“We didn’t want it to close. She didn’t feel she could work through this whole process – it’s been a very, very big project — and she asked me to step in, so I did,” Costa said.

EMC gave a statement to CBS2/KCAL9 which read, in part, “We endeavored to handle the property loss claim of our insured in a reasonable manner. Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, we paid all of the undisputed damages…but had been unable to come to a final agreement on the amount of the business interruption claim. Once we have a chance to review the lawsuit in full, we will respond to Ms. Fannin and her representative.”

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