CT Supreme Court asked to define ‘collapse’ in crumbling foundations case

Connecticut Supreme Court and State Library building in Hartford.

HARTFORD — The fate of hundreds of homes may rest on the meaning of a single word.

A federal judge has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court for a better definition of the word “collapse” that could help decide whether homeowner insurance policies should cover repairs to thousands of homes with crumbling foundations caused by defective concrete.The Connecticut Law Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill asked for the opinion last week as part of one of many lawsuits against insurance companies for failing to cover the damage.

An estimated 30,000 or more homes and condominiums in eastern and central Connecticut could have failing foundations because of a mineral that causes concrete to crack and crumble.

Insurers say policies would only cover fixing foundations if homes collapse. Lawyers for homeowners argue that a 1987 state Supreme Court ruling said “collapse” also can mean impairment in structural integrity.

The Connecticut General Assembly is considering a bill that would impose a $12 fee on homeowner policies to help owners of homes with crumbling foundations. That bill is expected to be debated and voted on in the House of Representatives today in a rare Saturday session of the legislature.