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Dennis v. Harleysville Preferred Insurance Company

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 26, 2019

DENNIS and ERICA MOURA, Plaintiffs,
v.
HARLEYSVILLE PREFERRED INSURANCE COMPANY and LIBERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION, Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On February 9, 2018, Dennis and Erica Moura (“Plaintiffs” or “The Mouras”) filed a civil Complaint in Connecticut Superior Court against Harleysville Preferred Insurance Company (“Harleysville”) and Liberty Insurance Corporation (“Liberty” and together, “Defendants”), the companies that allegedly insured their home. Compl., ECF No. 1-1.

         The Mouras allege that Defendants failed to honor their homeowner's insurance policies when the Mouras' basement walls cracked due to allegedly faulty concrete. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 8, 19, 26, 28, 38.

         On March 9, 2018, Harleysville removed the case to this Court on diversity grounds under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 5-7.

         On April 18, 2018, before Defendants had responded to the Complaint, the Mouras filed a motion to add one count against Liberty and three counts against Harleysville. Mot. to Amend or Correct, ECF No. 19.

         On May 9, 2018, Liberty objected to the motion to amend with respect to the Mouras' new claim against Liberty. Obj. to Pls. Mot. for Leave to Amend Compl., ECF No. 25.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court now GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Plaintiffs' motion to amend or correct the Complaint, ECF No. 19.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         The Mouras allegedly purchased their home in 2009. Compl. ¶ 3. The home was allegedly built in 1998, id., using concrete “likely from the J.J. Mottes Concrete Company, ” id. ¶ 9. In March of 2017, the Mouras allegedly noticed horizontal and vertical cracks in their basement walls. Id. ¶ 6. After investigating the cause of the cracking, the Mouras concluded that it was likely due to a form of concrete that oxidizes, expands, and breaks the bonds of the concrete. Id. ¶ 9.

         In their view, it was “only a question of time until the basement walls of [their] home [fell] in due to the exterior pressure from the surrounding soil.” Id. ¶ 12. Accordingly, they allegedly filed claims for insurance coverage with Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 15, 37. In their Complaint, the Mouras alleged that Harleysville had not yet decided whether it would cover their alleged losses, id. ¶ 19, and that Liberty had denied their claim for coverage, id. ¶ 38. Plaintiffs sought Declaratory Judgment against Harleysville, and damages for Breach of Contract, violations of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA) and Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) against Liberty. Id. ¶¶ 23-61.

         B. Procedural Background

         Following Harleysville's removal of the case to this Court, Notice of Removal, the Court issued a Standing Order on pretrial deadlines, Order on Pretrial Deadlines, ECF No. 7. Three days later, the parties file a consent motion for an extension of time until April 30, 2018 for Harleysville to respond to the Complaint. Motion for Extension, ECF No. 15. On March 13, 2018, the Court granted that motion. Order, ECF No. 16.

         On April 18, 2018, before Defendants responded to the Complaint, the Mouras filed the present motion to amend or correct. Mot. to Amend or Correct. The Mouras allege that, since the filing of their initial Complaint, Harleysville has “issued a formal coverage decision denying the plaintiffs' claim for coverage.” Id. ¶ 8. The Mouras contend that that “denial gives rise to additional claims against the defendant including breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unfair and deceptive practices in violation of [CUTPA] and [CUIPA].” Id. ...


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