University, insurance agency sue company for causing water damage in 2000 Penn complex

Media Credit: Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

GW and its insurance agency are suing a maintenance company, claiming the company caused water damage in the 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue complex.

The University and its insurance agency are suing a maintenance company for almost $100,000, claiming the company caused water damage in the 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue complex while performing sprinkler maintenance in 2015.

In a four-page complaint filed in the D.C. Superior Court Wednesday, the plaintiffs claim that Chesapeake Protection Services – a company contracted by the University – acted negligently and breached its contract with GW by failing to inspect drain pipes in The Shops at 2000 Penn. The suit alleges that the company caused water leakage in multiple stairwells in the complex, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

The University and the Continental Casualty Company – which provided general liability insurance to GW – are asking for $92,110 to cover $82,110 in property damage paid by the insurance company and GW’s $10,000 deductible.

“Chesapeake Protection Services had a duty to adhere to the standard of care when performing the sprinkler repair,” the suit states. “They breached the standard of care when they failed to properly inspect the drain riser prior to the draining of the second-floor sprinkler system.”

Chesapeake Protection Services did not respond to a request for comment. The lawyer representing the plaintiffs and a spokeswoman for the University both did not immediately return a request for comment.

The University contracted Chesapeake Protection Services to work on sprinkler pipes on the second floor of 2000 Penn – which houses the second floor of CVS – in September 2015, the suit states. The complex also houses several vendors and restaurants, including UPS, Chipotle and Paul.

While performing maintenance, an agent for Chesapeake Protection Services shut off the floor control supply valves in two stairwells to “isolate the system.” But five minutes after the drain valve for the second-floor sprinkler opened, multiple leaks in the sprinkler drain system caused water to collect in the stairwells and the fire pump room at the garage level, the suit states.

Chesapeake Protection Services also did not report corrosion-related damage to a drain pipe in 2014 and 2015 reports, according to the complaint.

“Had Chesapeake Protection Services properly inspected and reported the condition of the corrosion related damage to the drain riser, fugitive water would not have discharged within the stairwells and caused a dangerous condition to property and life,” the complaint reads.

The suit alleges that the company did not adequately inspect and test the sprinkler system and failed to properly hire, supervise or control its agents – breaching its contract with the University.

“Under the terms of the contract, defendant had a duty to use reasonable care to install the sprinkler suppression system in good and workmanlike manner,” the complaint states.

An initial scheduling conference is set for Dec. 14.

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