Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County. The Honorable Mary
F. Weir, Judge
Before: Cynthia L. Martin, P.J. and Alok Ahuja and Anthony
Rex Gabbert, JJ.
Messina insured his home with Shelter Mutual Insurance
Company. The brick veneer on an exterior wall of
Messina's home collapsed, and he filed a property damage
claim with Shelter. After Shelter denied the claim, Messina
sued the insurer for breach of contract in the Circuit Court
of Jackson County. The circuit court granted Shelter's
motion for summary judgment, and Messina appeals. Messina has
conceded that one of the causes of the wall collapse was
explicitly excluded from coverage under Shelter's policy.
Because the policy specifies that it does not provide
coverage if any cause of loss or damage is excluded,
Messina's concession forecloses coverage for the wall
collapse. We accordingly affirm the circuit court's grant
of summary judgment to Shelter.
has owned and lived at the residence located at 501 Olive
Street in Kansas City since approximately 1999. Messina
acknowledged that the brick veneer on the south side of his
home "was bulging out away from the wall . . . since he
bought the house."
2016, Shelter issued a homeowner's insurance policy
covering Messina's residence for the policy period of May
29, 2016, to May 29, 2017.
December 25, 2016, Messina returned home to discover that
most of the brick veneer on the south side of his residence
had collapsed into his driveway. A few weeks later, Messina
contacted Mark Towner, a professional engineer, to determine
the cause of the collapse. At his deposition, Towner
testified he found pre-existing weakness and deterioration in
the mortar of the south wall, which had developed over a
period of years. In addition, Towner testified that metal
connectors which were intended to hold the brick veneer to
the wood sheathing behind it had corroded and rusted. Towner
testified that the brick veneer wall collapsed as a result of
a combination of factors, including: deterioration of the
mortar; corrosion and rust of the metal nails holding the
brick veneer to the wood sheathing; and the force of a wind
suction or wind velocity event which occurred on the day of
the collapse. Towner conceded that, but for the long-term
deterioration of the mortar, and the corrosion or rusting of
the metal connectors, the wind would not have caused the
brick veneer to collapse on its own.
Messina filed a claim for loss, Shelter hired its own
engineer, Kevin Kirchmer, to inspect the collapsed wall. In
his report, Kirchmer attributed the collapse of the brick
veneer to long-term expansion and contraction of the wood
sheathing, long-term corrosion of the brick nails, and a lack
of maintenance. Kirchmer specifically concluded that the wall
did not collapse because of the force of the wind.
denied Messina's insurance claim. He then filed a breach
of contract action against Shelter, seeking to recover the
cost of the repair and replacement of the brick veneer.
Messina alleged that the policy provided coverage because a
wind event caused the collapse, and was a covered cause of
moved for summary judgment on the basis that the
uncontroverted facts showed that Messina's claim did not
involve an "accidental direct physical loss"
covered by the policy, because the deterioration and bowing
of the brick veneer had not occurred abruptly. Shelter also
contended that, even if the loss fell within the definition
of an "accidental direct physical loss," coverage
was defeated by the policy's exclusions.
circuit court granted Shelter's motion for summary
judgment. Messina appeals.
judgment shall be entered if there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Wilmes v. Consumers
Oil Co. of Maryville, 473 S.W.3d 705, 714 (Mo. App. W.D.
2015) (citing Rule 74.04(c)(6); internal quotation marks
omitted). "This Court reviews a grant of summary
judgment de novo." Gall v. Steele, 547
S.W.3d 564, 567 (Mo. 2018) (citing ITT Commercial Fin.
Corp. v. Mid-Am. Marine Supply Corp., 854 S.W.2d 371,
376 (Mo. 1993)). On appeal, "[w]e will affirm a grant of
summary judgment if the decision is correct under any theory
supported by the record developed below and presented on
appeal." Medley v. Valentine Redford Commc'ns,
Inc., 173 S.W.3d 315, 319 (Mo. App. W.D. 2005) (citation
and internal quotation marks omitted). The Court reviews the
record "in the light most favorable to ...