Insurance company seeks to recoup water damage payment

Kelly Holleran Jan. 4, 2010, 3:49am

An insurance company is attempting to recoup more than $140,000 in damages it says it was forced to pay a Beaumont business after a corroded water pipe caused the business to flood.

State Farm Lloyds, as subrogee of Scott Mayes and Mayes Wood Flooring, filed a lawsuit Dec. 17 in Jefferson County District Court against Fluidmaster.

State Farm claims it paid $148,188.30 to Mayes after a braided stainless-steel reinforced water supply line connected to a sink developed a "catastrophic leak."

The leak caused "a substantial, uncontrolled release of water into and throughout the business and the showroom," the suit states. "The water caused substantial damage to the real and business property."

Corrosion of stainless steel braiding in the region of the failure created a weakened section of the braiding that caused the leak, the complaint says.

"The resulting section of hose did not have sufficient support from the stainless steel braiding and due to the internal pressure, the inner hose ruptured," the suit states.

Fluidmaster designed and manufactured the defective water line, State Farm claims.

At the time of the leak on Feb. 10, 2008, Mayes owned Mayes Wood Flooring at 5010 College St. in Beaumont, which State Farm insured, according to the complaint.

As a result of the leak, State Farm had to pay Mayes $148,188.30 including real property damages of $49,565.30 and business interruption damages of $98,623, the suit states.

In the two-count suit, State Farm alleges strict liability and negligence against Fluidmaster.

In addition to the money State Farm says it is owed by Fluidmaster, the insurance company seeks pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

N. Scott Carpenter and Craig M. Schumacher of Carpenter Law Firm in Plano will be representing the plaintiff.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D185-497.

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