Owner of partially collapsed Bristol hotel enters legal battle with insurance company | WJHL

BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – After a construction project along Volunteer Parkway in Bristol partially collapsed in late 2020, the project’s owner and insuring agency are at odds due to a disputed payout that could total in the millions of dollars.

According to a Declaratory Judgment request filed with the United States District Courthouse in Greeneville by the Cincinnati Insurance Company (Cincinnati), Tenneva LLC — the project’s owner — is requesting up to $8,701,879 in relief that they believe does not fall under the agreement signed by the two companies.

In policy documents provided in the lawsuit’s initial request, Cincinnati states that their company does not pay for losses caused by “design, specifications, construction or workmanship.”

According to an investigation by Thornton Tomasetti, an engineering firm hired by the insurance company to investigate the incident, the building’s collapse was the fault of steel load-bearing walls that failed on the second floor.

“The cold-formed steel framed wall(s) failed under the weight of the precast planks, superimposed dead loads, and the limited live loads applied to the planks at the time of the collapse,” Tomasetti’s analysis reads. “The specific bearing wall on the second floor where the collapse initiated is unknown.”

In their analysis, Tomasetti wrote that the building’s walls—which were drafted by Base4, an architecture and design firm headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida—were not rated to hold the weight planned for the building, and the load capacity of the actual walls was four times less than the load capacity required by code as laid out in the designs.

“Although beyond the scope of this report, during our analysis of the collapse we encountered multiple walls that were under designed for the code-required design loads outlined in Section 6.0 above,” the Tomasetti report reads. “TT recommends a full review of the design be conducted to evaluate all potential design deficiencies.”

The lawsuit asked the court to determine which party is correct and to outline just how much should be paid out due to the collapse. In a countersuit, Tenneva alleges that Cincinnati delayed their ability to estimate costs before telling them that it was too late to claim attached costs and that Cincinnati never intended to pay what Tenneva believes they are due.

Tenneva requested over $11 million in insurance payout in their counterclaim as well as over $2.5 million in statutory damages for breach of contract and other claims. Tenneva also requested the payment of interest and additional damages related to the incident.

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