Downtown Springfield building owners sue insurance agent for $50K

6:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 Business
Springfield Fire Rescue Division crews respond to a water leak at the Hull Plaza building in downtown Springfield in 2016. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

The owners of a prominent downtown Springfield building have sued a local insurance agent and company.

Robert and Nancy Hull are the owners of Hull Plaza. They have filed a lawsuit against State Farm agent Rick Chimento III and State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. The suit claims the agent and insurance failed to procure a policy or coverage the Hulls asked for.

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In 2014, the Hulls requested coverage for the property located at 4 W. Main St. from Chimento, according to court documents. That was to include insurance for a boiler, cost value, valuable papers, accounts receivable, signs, property of others, equipment breakdown, service interruption, utility service equipment, spoilage and data restoration.

The Springfield News-Sun attempted to contact Chimento but he was unavailable for comment.

The building’s boiler was damaged in an accident in January 2016 caused by an explosion of gases or fuel within the furnace, causing the heating system to shut down, the lawsuit says. Later when the boiler was turned back on “the hot water contacted the cold radiator plumbing,” causing the pipes to burst, the suit says.

That caused a leak, which created more damage, most it on the seventh floor of Hull Plaza, the suit claims.

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State Farm allegedly estimated the damage costs to be more than $47,800, according to the court documents. The property owners received independent estimates, the suit says, with one contractor allegedly estimating the damage to be $215,000 and the other allegedly at $178,000.

This year the Hulls allegedly asked State Farm to invoke the appraisal provision of the policy and it failed to do so, according to lawsuit.

The owners are seeking at least $50,000 in damages, attorney’s fees and other costs, the suit says. They are also asking for maximum non-economic damages available, including actual, emotional, general punitive and other damages if applicable.