United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ALAN D. LEES and ROMELA J. LEES, Plaintiffs,
ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO., Defendant.
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
and Romela Lees (“The Leeses” or
“Plaintiffs”) sued Allstate Insurance Co.
(“Allstate” or “Defendant”) after
Allstate denied coverage for crumbling concrete in the
Leeses' finished basement, claiming breach of contract,
breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and
unfair and deceptive practices.
moves for summary judgment, arguing that the insurance policy
at issue unambiguously covers only sudden and accidental
collapses-not, according to Allstate, the gradual
deterioration damaging the Leeses' basement. Allstate
argues that it properly denied coverage and did not breach
its contract. Allstate also argues that it cannot have
breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing or
engaged in unfair and deceptive practices because it did not
breach its contract with the Leeses, and even if the Court
concludes that Allstate did breach its contract, it did not
do so with malicious intent.
reasons discussed below, Allstate's motion for summary
judgment is GRANTED.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
August 6, 2014, Alan and Romela Lees purchased a house,
believing it had only minor defects. Compl. ¶ 4. Before
buying the house, they worked with an inspector, who spotted
cracks in the basement walls but recommended only that the
Leeses fill the cracks to prevent water leaks, and monitor
them. Stmt. Material Facts (“SMF”) at 7, ECF No.
45. The Leeses also purchased an annually renewing
homeowner's insurance policy from Allstate. Id.
insurance policy covers “sudden and accidental direct
physical loss to property . . . except as limited or excluded
in this policy.” Compl., Ex. A at 8, ECF 1-1.
Earth movement of any type, including, but not limited to
earthquake, volcanic eruption, lava flow, landslide,
subsidence, mudflow, pressure, sinkhole, erosion, or the
sinking, rising, shifting, creeping, expanding, bulging,
cracking, settling or contracting of the earth. This
exclusion applies whether or not the earth movement is
combined with water.
Id. The policy does cover “sudden and
accidental direct loss caused by fire, explosion, theft or
breakage of glass or safety glazing materials resulting from
earth movement.” Id. But it does not cover
loss resulting from:
a) wear and tear, aging, marring, scratching, deterioration,
inherent vice, or latent defect;
b) mechanical breakdown;
c) growth of trees, shrubs, plants or lawns whether or not
such growth is above or below the surface of the ground;
d) rust or other corrosion, mold, wet or dry rot;
e) contamination, including, but not limited to the presence
of toxic, noxious or hazardous gasses, chemicals, liquids,
solids or other substances at the residence premises or in
the air, land or water serving the residence premises;
f) smog, smoke from the manufacturing of any controlled
substance, agricultural smudging and industrial operations;
g) settling, cracking, shrinking, bulging or expansion of
pavements, patios, foundations, walls, floors, roofs or
h) insects, rodents, birds or domestic animals. We do cover
the breakage of glass or safety glazing materials caused by
i) seizure by government authority.
Id. at 9-10.
“Collapse” provision of the policy covers
“(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 (b) above.” Id. at
17. The collapse ...