Insurance Investigator Establishes Fire Accidental and Defeats Attempt to Bind Insured to Trial for Arson and Fraud

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One New Year’s Eve, Clare Eugene Prisbrey’s house caught fire. Fire officials came to suspect that Prisbrey had set the blaze intentionally, and the State later charged him with aggravated arson and filing a false insurance claim. At a preliminary hearing, however, the magistrate found no probable cause that Prisbrey had committed those crimes, and declined to bind the case over for trial. The State appeals that determination, and we affirm.

In State Of Utah v. Clare Eugene Prisbrey, 2020 UT App 172, No. 20190569-CA, Utah Court Of Appeals (December 24, 2020) the state failed to prove there was enough evidence to bind Prisbrey to trial.


Insurance companies are obligated, in every fire claim, to conduct a complete, thorough, and fair investigation of every claim. Although the insurer’s investigator established by a thorough investigation – unlike the investigation conducted by the state – that the cause of the fire was accidental and paid its insured more than $350,000.