Connecticut homeowners who are dealing with crumbling foundations are turning to federal court in an effort to hold insurance companies responsible for covering their losses.
Four homeowners filed a complaint that alleges the insurance companies are purposefully working against them, and all homeowners who have crumbling foundations.
The Troubleshooters have been reporting since July on a problem that's affecting hundreds of homeowners in eastern Connecticut. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Crumbling-Foundations_Hartford-318078561.html
On Friday, homeowners from Ellington, Ashford, Stafford Springs and Manchester filed a complaint that names more than 100 insurance companies that write property and casualty policies in the state of Connecticut, as well as the Insurance Services Office, an association responsible for writing policy language used by most of the companies.
"The policies are all uniform, using standardized language and issue standardized denials to all these homeowners," Manchester Attorney Ryan Barry, who represents all four homeowners, said.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs allege a “concerted scheme” to deny them coverage for their failing basement walls, which experts say need to be replaced at a cost of $150,000 or more.
Barry said they paid an engineering firm thousands of dollars over the past several months to test for the source of the problem.
"They went into my clients' basements and extracted core samples from their basement wall and sent them to labs all across the country," Barry said.
In each case, Barry says the tests confirmed the presence of an iron sulfide mineral called pyrrhotite, which is what the Troubleshooters have been reporting as the likely cause of the failing concrete.
Research suggests that pyrrhotite oxidizes over time from contact with air and water, creating a chemical reaction that causes the concrete walls to swell, expand, crack and ultimately fail.
The Troubleshooters reached out to the Insurance Services Office for a response to the lawsuit, but we have not heard back.
The status as a class action is something that has to be decided by the court. If it's granted, dozens of other eastern Connecticut homeowners in similar situations would be able to join the lawsuit.