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Miller v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 29, 2017

SANDRA MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Janet Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Sandra Miller ("Plaintiff or "Ms. Miller") brought this lawsuit alleging breach of an insurance contract (Count 1), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count 2), and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act ("CUTPA") and the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act ("CUIPA") (Count 3) against Defendant Allstate Insurance Company ("Defendant" or "Allstate") in connection with Allstate's denial of coverage for a claim to cover the cost of repairing a crumbling house foundation. Defendant moves [Doc. #16] to dismiss all Counts. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED.

         I. Facts Alleged

         Plaintiff alleges that she insured her home through a homeowner's insurance policy issued by Allstate and that she timely made all required premium payments. (Compl. [Doc. # 1] ¶¶ 3-4.) "Over time" Ms. Miller noticed "visible cracking patterns" in her basement walls. (Id. ¶ 5.) Becoming worried that her home had the same problems with its concrete foundation that she had seen reported in the news, Ms. Miller engaged a structural engineer to investigate the cracks in mid-November, 2015. (Id. ¶ 6.) The engineer determined that the concrete in Plaintiffs basement walls was cracking due to a chemical reaction and that "this chemical reaction will continue to progressively deteriorate the walls, rendering the[m] structurally unstable----" (Id. ¶ 7.)

         On November 26, 2015, after receiving the engineer's report, Plaintiff made a formal claim with Allstate seeking coverage under her homeowner's insurance policy for the cost of "damages caused by the chemical reaction." (Id. ¶ 8.) The engineer subsequently "ordered that the Plaintiff vacate her home due to the structural damage caused by the concrete." (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff and her family vacated the house and continue to incur charges to live away from their home. On September 30, 2016 Allstate denied coverage for Ms. Miller's claim.

         The insurance policy at issue is a Deluxe Homeowners Policy issued by Allstate. (See Ex. C ("Policy") to Mem. Supp. Mot. to Dismiss [Doc. # 16-4].) The Policy provides the following general coverage:

We will cover sudden and accidental direct physical loss to property described in Coverage A-Dwelling Protection and Coverage B-Other Structures Protection except as limited or excluded in this policy.

(Policy at 37.)[1] The Policy then lists a series of exclusions, several of which are relevant to the instant dispute. The Policy does not cover losses "consisting of or caused by... Collapse, except as specifically provided in Section I-Additional Protection under item 11, 'Collapse'." (Id. at 38.) Further, the policy does not cover losses "consisting of or caused by . . . wear and tear, aging, marring, scratching, deterioration, inherent vice, or latent defect;" "rust or other corrosion, mold, wet or dry rot;" or "settling, cracking, shrinking, bulging or expansion of pavements, patios, foundations, walls, floors, roofs or ceilings." (Id.)

         Although the policy generally excludes collapse, it specifies a set of conditions under which collapse would be covered in the "Additional Protection" section:

         Collapse:

         We will cover

a) the entire collapse of a covered building structure
b) the entire collapse of part of a covered building structure; and
c) direct physical loss to covered property caused by (a) or ...

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