Collapse of Breezeway Attached to Building Covered

Breezeway with cement and greenery

Attorney Tred R. Eyerly discusses DENC, LLC v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co.

February 24, 2020
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The federal district court found that a breezeway that collapsed during a party was covered by the commercial property policy. DENC, LLC v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179083 (M.D. N.C. Oct. 15, 2019).

DENC owned an apartment complex that was insured by Philadelphia under an all-risk policy. During an early morning party, a large number of students gathered on the second-floor breezeway for a party. The students started jumping in the breezeway when a certain song started playing. The floor abruptly collapsed underneath the students.

Philadelphia sent an adjuster to inspect the breezeway a couple days later. He wrote to Philadelphia that "the sole and proximate cause of the loss is water damage occurring over an extended period of time causing the second floor breezeway to sage and the light weight concrete to crack." Shortly thereafter, the building was condemned. A structural engineer found multiple ways in which water had seeped into the breezeway's wood framing and photographed the resulting biological growth and wood decay. He concluded that the building had sustained significant long-term water intrusion which resulted in the wood framing inability to support the loads. The water intrusion was caused by the failure to properly install a water management system on the walls, a properly integrated waterproof system for the walkway slab and framing configuration, and improper venting of dryers.

DENC retained an engineer who testified that the breezeway was sagging because the concrete had broken.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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