Bad faith is the unreasonable failure of an insurance company to honor the terms of an insurance policy and deal with a policyholder in good faith. Insurance companies who are found to have acted in bad faith can be liable for punitive damages in addition to contract damages. Some states have bad faith statutes called "Unfair Insurance Claims Practices Acts."
Mother of All Toilet Leak Gushes into Lawsuit by ACE Group Unit
But Bankers Standard Insurance Co. claims that the Kohler model 81100 pressure clean flushometer tank system was thrifty in neither manner, and in fact, caused massive damages to the home of a Long Island resident it insured. The ACE Group unit sued Kohler and Watts Water Technologies Inc. and Watts Regulator Company, one or both of which supplied components for the toilet, in U.S. District Court in New York. The ACE Group asked for damages to compensate for the payout it made to its client.
Bankers Standard said that policyholder Louis Lester had installed the Kohler toilet, called “the subject toilet,” in his Great Neck, New York residence sometime prior to January 3rd, 2010. On that date, it allegedly ruptured, permitting water to escape and migrate into and spread throughout areas of the home and create “severe and substantial damage.”
The leak, Bankers Standard said in the suit, is believed to have been caused by one or more defects in the subject toilet’s components.
Losses to the Lesters included damage to their property and additional living expenses as the home was rendered uninhabitable for a time. In all, Bankers Standard paid $341,521 on the claim.
The insurance company accused Kohler and Watts of negligence and further said in its request for damages, that they are strictly liable for the product they made, assembled or distributed.
Toilets have created problems for manufacturers this year. In June, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada announced the recall of 2.3 million toilets built by Kohler, Gerber, Eljer and other companies, containing a “Flushmate” valve manufactured by a division of Sloan Valve Co. It said they pose a risk of bursting at or near the vessel weld seam, releasing stored pressure (in addition to water).
A month earlier, a Philadelphia law firm filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in California against Watts Water. It accused the company of making a defective toilet water connector line, which links a property’s water shut off valve to the toilet.
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