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PERSONAL INJURY: Superior Court holds owner’s negligent infliction of emotional distress claim against homeowner association was justified where association inexplicably delayed processing of insurance claim for repair to flood damage to condominium unit

An interior water pipe in the plaintiff’s condominium unit broke, causing extensive damage to the unit and allegedly rendering it uninhabitable for over a year.  Per the homeowner association (HOA) bylaws, the HOA was responsible for the repair to the pipe and unit damage.  Plaintiff sued and included a claim for negligent infliction of emotional stress in his complaint, alleging that the HOA received insurance claim settlement funds for repair to his unit, but never commenced repair work.

In denying the defendant’s motion to strike the emotional distress claim, the Court stated that the plaintiff had alleged all of the legal elements of an emotional distress claim.  The plaintiff’s emotional distress claim was based on the defendant’s alleged misconduct in response to the flood damage, not just the physical damage caused by the flood.

The Court found that the physical damage to the unit and the defendant’s conduct in handling the insurance claim were two separate and distinct acts.

Thompson v. Cherry St. Condominium Ass’n., CV-16-5018206-S (12/20/2017)