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Calistoga Ranch resort sues insurers in connection with Glass Fire

Calistoga Ranch

A victim of the Glass Fire, Calistoga Ranch was a luxury resort with cabernet vineyards, hiking trails, and swimming pools. At least two lawsuits have been filed in multi-million insurance battles.

Calistoga Ranch is suing several insurance companies in a multi-million dollar tussle stemming from the Glass Fire that destroyed the Napa County wine country luxury resort.

The resort in the lawsuit filed on Oct. 28 in Napa County Superior Court claims that it has a $100 million blanket insurance policy. The insurance companies participating, in contrast, say there is a $58.3 million liability cap.

In dispute is the remaining $40 million or so that the resort says it is due. Calistoga Ranch in the lawsuit says the insurers’ refusal to pay the full $100 million is “inherently unreasonable.”

One thing is beyond the dispute — what happened after the Glass Fire reached the resort on Sept. 28, 2020.

“The resort was burned to the ground,” the lawsuit said.

Calistoga Ranch is on 158 acres near Silverado Trail. It had lodges, spas, pools, restaurant and other features. It was named one of the world’s top 50 hotels by Travel + Leisure in 2015.

Part of Calistoga Ranch was private lodges owned in membership shares. On July 7, homeowners filed a $100 million lawsuit against Auberge Resorts — which managed the resort — for allegedly failing to provide adequate insurance coverage.

The lawsuit said Auberge was supposed to maintain $100 million in insurance. Instead, homeowners discovered that insurers claimed the fire policy limit had been reduced, with only $58 million available, their attorneys said.

“As a result of Auberge’s deceptive and negligent actions, the homeowners have little hope of recovering their losses — and it is highly unlikely the resort can be rebuilt,” the plaintiff’s lawyers said in a statement.

In the wake of this July 7 lawsuit by homeowners against the resort comes the one filed Oct. 28 by the resort against the insurers.

Attorneys representing the resort in the Oct. 28 lawsuit could not be reached for comment on Monday. Doug Elmets on behalf of the July 7 lawsuit filers on Monday said he couldn't comment by the time of the Napa Valley Register's deadline.

It was unclear as of Monday when and if Calistoga Ranch might be rebuilt.

Napa County's other major rural resort, Meadowood, was partially destroyed by the Glass Fire. Meadowood is working with the county on a development agreement to rebuild the damaged sections.

Filing the Oct. 28 lawsuit were Calistoga Ranch Owner LLC, Calistoga Ranch Investors LLC, Auberge Resorts LLC and Calistoga Ranch Club. The defendants are AIG Insurance Co., Arch Specialty Insurance Co., Homeland Insurance Co. of New York, Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. and Mark Voronin, the insurance adjustor.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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