Can we sue for loss of quiet enjoyment of our home after our sewer pipe was struck, destroying our basement?

UPDATED: May 21, 2012

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Can we sue for loss of quiet enjoyment of our home after our sewer pipe was struck, destroying our basement?

Boring company struck sewer pipe. We lost the use of our basement, including 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. Our children are now sleeping on couches, our laundry room is now 2 closets, our garage is filled with basement items, we can not use our laundry since pipe needed to be temporarily cut. This has caused a great deal of stress and loss of quiet enjoyment of our home for past month and looks to be another 2 months possibly before we can use the basement and laundry again.

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


Alan Pransky / Law Office of Alan J Pransky

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In Massachusetts, you can sue for negligence for the damage caused by the company.  You can't sue for quiet enjoyment as the boring company does not owe this duty to you.  There is probably an insurance policy and there may also be a sum of money posted with the town or city to protect against mistakes of this nature.  This performance bond is usually required as a condition of the contract.  There should be question as to how the mistake happened.  The company was required to check with DigSafe before digging.  Therefore, they should not have had this problem.  

As a first step, you should contact your own insurance company.  They may pay for you to move into a hotel until the property is habitable.  They may also pay to fix the damage.  Finally, they may sue the boring company for you.

I also suggest that you contact a public adjuster to help you negotiate with the insurance company.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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