Sewer break that damaged Wit Hotel spurs insurance suit against city

By Carol Ostrow | Mar 24, 2015

A major insurance company is suing the City of Chicago over a 2013 sewer break at the Wit Hotel.

Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co.-- as subrogee of ECD Great Street DE, which owns the hotel at 210 N. State St.-- filed suit March 4 in Cook County Circuit Court against the city.

According to the complaint, the hotel property and its contents are covered by the plaintiff’s policies and in November 2013, a water main running underneath the property experienced a catastrophic break and leaked into an underground utility substation.

The city responded to the break, but after finding it frozen over, delayed repairs until March 2014, at which time, pumps were activated to discharge the excess water into a nearby storm sewer, the suit says.

Liberty Mutual claims the sewer was collapsed or otherwise backed up and, as a result of the malfunction, water overflowed the storm sewer into the Wit Hotel, causing more than $40,000 in property damage on March 16, 2014.

The insurance company accuses the city of failing to properly service and repair sewer lines, supervise and inspect its workers, monitor water mains and inform the plaintiff of the hazard.

Liberty Mutual seeks to recoup the $46,289.54 it paid to the hotel under its policy, plus attorney fees and costs. It is represented by attorney Gary Marek of the Law Offices of Meachum, Starck, Boyle & Trafman in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2015L002259.

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