Collapse: Steven L. Vera et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company

Vera v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (SC 20178):

In Vera, the Connecticut Supreme Court answered the federal certification question; what constitutes “substantial impairment of structural integrity” for purposes of applying the “collapse” provision of the plaintiffs’ homeowner’s insurance policy. As an initial matter, the issues raised and the merits of the underlying arguments in Karas and Vera are substantially identical, and the Court’s examination of those issues and the conclusions reached are the same. Plaintiffs filed suit against defendant after denial of their claim for “collapse” of their basement walls. The U.S. District Court determined that “collapse” was defined as a “substantial impairment of structural integrity” pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in Beach v. Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co., 205 Conn. 246 (1987) and certified the above question for review by the Supreme Court. The Court, as in Karas, held that “to meet the substantial impairment standard, an insured whose home has not actually collapsed must present evidence demonstrating that the home nevertheless is in imminent danger of such a collapse.”