Crumbling foundations have been an ongoing issue in Connecticut for the past few years. A flurry of lawsuits have been filed against many insurers due to collapsed foundations, and even one class action lawsuit. It all stems from concrete from the quarry, Becker Construction Company, and poured by J.J. Mottes & Company. This company poured approximately 20,000 foundations in the past 30 years. J.J. Mottes has been accused of shady business practices such as pouring leftover concrete shown to contain pyrrhotite, a mineral that can cause cracking as it reacts with water and oxygen.
As reported on Law360, U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant granted summary judgment for Allstate Insurance Company, finding the policy issued to the insureds, Stephen and Gail Metsack, required a collapse of the foundation to be “sudden” to be covered. Fortunately, the Metsacks had another policy with Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, that did not have the “sudden” language and therefore the judge denied summary judgment as to Liberty Mutual and even left the door open for the Metsacks to pursue a claim under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA).
The Metsacks have sued for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of the CUTPA, and are seeking $125,000 in damages plus attorneys’ fees and costs.1 The Metsacks claim that Liberty Mutual is currently involved in nineteen lawsuits in which they denied coverage for the same foundation issues and have handled each claim in a way that violates the CUTPA.
Last year, the Connecticut legislature passed a law sealing complaints filed with the Department of Consumer Protection and other state agencies involving crumbling foundations, specifically to protect homeowners worried that filing a complaint with the Department would affect their claims, a DCP spokesperson told Law360.
A link to the Connecticut General Assembly’s most current updates and press releases regarding their investigation can be found by clicking here.
I leave you with an applicable quote from future hall-of-fame head coach, and multiple Superbowl champion, Bill Belichick, “There are no shortcuts to building a team each season. You build the foundation brick by brick.”
1 Metsack v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co. et al., Docket No. 3:14-cv-01150 (D. CT).