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Homeowner cannot sue Association where he didn't adequately prove causation of water table distortion

Michael Buck made a claim against his homeowners coverage after a high water table "lifted" and floated his backyard swimming pool out of the ground.  The insurer, State Farm, declined to cover the related expenses because its policy contained an exclusion for "below surface groundwater."  Based on State Farm's engineer's investigation, Buck sued his homeowner's association, arguing that its negligent changes in contiguous land caused that land to drain to his property and artificially raise the water table.

The insurer for the Homeowner's Association argued that Buck's theory was too speculative and that he hadn't proved that drainage from the adjoining land caused his pool to float.  The Court granted summary disposition, finding no evidence to support Buck's theory, despite the expert report authored by State Farm's engineer.  The Court noted that while State Farm's report blamed "elevated ground water," it did not identify any action by the Homeowners' Association which caused the rise in groundwater.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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