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Manseau v. Allstate Insurance Company

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 31, 2017

DOMINIC MANSEAU and CAROL MANSEAU Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY Defendant.

          RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          MICHAEL P. SHEA, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiffs Dominic Manseau and Carol Manseau (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed this action in state court against their homeowner's insurance provider, Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”), for failure to pay for damages to the basement walls of their home caused by cracking concrete. (ECF No. 1.) Allstate removed the case to this court on July 22, 2016. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiffs bring claims of breach of contract (Count One), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count Two), and unfair and deceptive practices in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-816 et seq. (“CUIPA”) and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a et seq. (“CUTPA”) (Count Three). On October 24, 2016, Allstate moved to dismiss the breach of contract claim on the grounds that the insurance policy at issue did not cover the alleged damage, and the remaining claims because they cannot be maintained in the absence of a breach of contract claim, or, in the alternative, for failure to state claims on which relief can be granted. (ECF No. 19.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

         I. Factual Allegations

         According to the allegations in the complaint, Allstate has insured Plaintiffs' home in Ellington, Connecticut at all relevant times. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 3.) Plaintiffs have made all required insurance payments. (Id. ¶ 4.)

         “Recently, ” Plaintiffs “observed visible cracking patterns in the basement walls of their home.” (Id. ¶ 5.) On or about January 5, 2016, a structural engineer inspected their home, and concluded that “the concrete deterioration and cracking were caused by a chemical reaction in the concrete, and that this chemical reaction would continue to progressively deteriorate the basement walls, rendering the structure unstable . . . .” (Id. ¶¶ 6-7.) The engineer recommended that the basement walls be replaced. (Id. ¶ 7.)

         On or about January 15, 2016, Plaintiffs made a claim for coverage under their homeowner's insurance policy, including the engineer's report with their claim. (Id. ¶ 8.) Allstate denied their claim on June 7, 2016. (Id. ¶ 11.) In its denial letter Allstate stated:

Allstate's investigation has determined that the cracking of foundation walls at your property is a condition caused by the expansion of reactive pyrrhotite in the concrete. The pyrrhotite has been present since the concrete was originally poured. When exposed to water and air, including ground water, the pyrrhotite expands, causing the concrete to develop cracks that gradually grow larger and more extensive. Our investigation has determined that one or more of the above-referenced Policy exclusions are applicable to your loss.

(ECF No. 22 at 3.)

         Plaintiffs' Homeowner's Policy (“Policy”) has three “Sections.” (ECF No. 19-4 at 14.)[1] “Section I - Your Property, ” which addresses property coverage, contains the following subsections: “Coverage A Dwelling Protection, ” “Coverage B Other Structures Protection, ” “Coverage C Personal Property Protection, ” “Additional Protection, ” and “Section I- Conditions.” (Id.)

Under “Section I - Your Property, ” the Policy states:
Losses We Cover Under Coverages A and B: We will cover sudden and accidental direct physical loss to property as described in Coverage A-Dwelling Protection and Coverage B-Other Structures Protection except as limited or excluded in this policy.

(Id. at 19.) The Policy continues:

Losses We Do Not Cover Under Coverages A and B: We do not cover loss to the property described in Coverage A-Dwelling Protection or Coverage B-Other Structures Protection consisting of or caused by: . . . .
12. Collapse, except as specifically provided in Section I-Additional Protection, under item 11, “Collapse.” . . .
In addition, we do not cover loss consisting of or caused by any of the following: 15. a) wear and tear, aging, marring, scratching, deterioration, inherent vice, or latent defect; . . .
d) rust or other corrosion, mold, wet or dry rot; . . .
The “Additional Protection” portion of Section I states:
11. Collapse We will cover:
(a) the entire collapse of a covered building structure;
g) settling, cracking, shrinking, bulging or expansion of pavements, patios, foundations, walls, floors, roofs ...

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