Insurer Tries To Shift Payment Obligation For Hog Building Collapse

A farmer entered into a contract with a third party for the construction of a hog building that would utilize the defendant’s trusses.  The building was completed in the spring of 2008, but during the winter of 2014, several of the trusses failed which caused a large portion of the roof of the hog building to collapse and killed many hogs.  The farmer had taken out an insurance policy with the plaintiff that covered the building.  The farmer submitted a claim for $338,381.00 and the plaintiff paid the claim - $300,000 for damage to the building, $30,000 for debris clean-up and $8,381 to the hog supplier for loss of their hogs covered under the farmer’s policy.  The plaintiff then sued the defendant claiming that their loss of $338,381 was caused by a manufacturing defect in the defendant’s trusses – a breach of implied warranty claim.  The defendant move to dismiss the claim and the court agreed.  The plaintiff’s claim arose out of the construction of a hog building in which the defendant’s trusses were used and the building was used in a commercial business and the damage was to the building itself and livestock in the building which were all covered under the plaintiff’s insurance policy.  As such, the economic loss doctrine applied to bar the tort action.  The losses were purely economic in nature.  Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Michigan, et al. v. Borkholder Buildings & Supply, L.L.C., No. 1:14-cv-1118, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128830 (W.D. Mich. Sept. 25, 2015).

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