Collapse Claim Fails Due To Defectively Designed Roof and Deck

Contractors on roof

The policy included a Losses Not Insured provision providing that "losses directly and immediately caused by . . . wear, tear, marring, scratching, deterioration, inherent vice, latent defect and mechanical breaks, or rust, or wet or dry rot" were not covered.

May 28, 2024
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The insured's claim for collapse of his roof and deck failed due to defective design and other exclusions under the policy. Dudar v. State Farm & Cas. Co., 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52706 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 6, 2024).

The insured submitted a claim to State Farm for damage to the roof ("Roof Claim"). State Farm's adjuster placed a ladder on the deck to access the roof and a portion of the deck collapsed. The insured then reported a claim to State Farm for damage to the deck ("Deck Claim"). The claims were denied and suit was filed.

The roof had leaked on several occasions prior to submission of the Roof Claim. On February 25, 2022, the insured discovered that a branch had cut a hole in the tarp, causing water to leak into the home. The insured performed repairs on the roof. On March 8, 2022, a storm caused more water to seep through the tarp into the ceilings and walls. Thereafter, the Roof Claim was submitted.

The damage from the leaking roof and the deck collapse were caused by rotting. The rotting, in turn, was caused by a combination of defective building design and resulting water damage from rain and storms over the years. The roof and deck were constructed to provide mutual support to one another. The roof did not contain an adequate slope, which caused water to seep down into the walls and flooring rather than to flow downward and away from the property. Over time, penetrating water caused portions of the roof, the floor, and the supporting wall between the roof and deck to rot.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at


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