(978) 979-1223

ccobb@silverlakelegal.com

Silver Lake Legal

Construction, Insurance & Business Attorney Boston

Massachusetts Property Damage Claim v Insurer – Not Subject to Discovery Rule

Frozen pipe property damage claim against insurer governed by statute of limitations – discovery rule doesn’t apply

FACTS   Building owner learned during a cold December that pipes froze and leaked water through the house. The insurer investigated for over one year and didn’t pay. The owner sued – more than two years after the loss occurred.
Massachusetts property damage statute of limitations law requires that suits of that kind MGL c 175 §99 be commenced within two years of the loss.

No suit or action against this company for the recovery of any claim by virtue of this policy shall be sustained in any court of law or equity in this commonwealth unless commenced within two years from the time the loss occurred;

ISSUE
The owner said when it discovered this loss in its building was a question of fact and that date should start the two year time limit.

HOLDING
Discovery rule does not apply to property damage claims under the statute.  The 2015 Massachusetts Appeals Court case is Nurse v Omega US Insurance

REASONS
Property insurance claims are governed by state law and by the contract. Since the statue goes into detail but does not suggest that any discovery requirement forgives late filing, the strict rule applies.

COMMENTARY
Insurers can take their time investigating claims. The claim for coverage has to be brought within the time limits under the statute no matter when the homeowner discovered the property loss.

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Charles W. Cobb

Attorney at Law


ADDRESS

320 Nevada Street Ste 301,

Newton MA 02460

EMAIL

ccobb@silverlakelegal.com

PHONE NUMBER

(978) 979-1223

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