Construction Defect Journal Archives

State Supreme Court Cases Highlight Importance of Wording in Earth Movement Exclusions

June 21, 2017
Hannah E. Austin - Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.

In Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Company v. Chaber, the West Virginia Supreme Court recently
held that an insurance policy’s earth movement exclusion was unambiguous and applied to both manmade
and natural earth movement. The Court also found that a narrow “ensuing loss” exception to the exclusion
that provided coverage for glass breakage resulting from earth movement could not be extended to cover the
entire loss.

The Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Company (Erie) insured five commercial buildings owned by
Dmitri and Mary Chaber. One of the properties was damaged by a landslide, and the Chabers filed a claim
with Erie. Erie asserted that the loss was excluded from coverage because the policy excluded coverage for
losses caused by earth movement, which was defined to include earthquakes, landslides, subsidence of
manmade mines, and earth sinking (aside from sinkhole collapse), rising or shifting. The exclusion stated
that it applied “regardless of whether any of the above . . . is caused by an act of nature or is otherwise
caused,” and also contained an anti-concurrent causation clause. However, there was an exception for glass
breakage caused by earth movement.

Ms. Austin may be contacted at hea@sdvlaw.com



714.701.9180

Arrange No Cost Consultation










Subscribe to Construction Defect Journal

Construction Defect Journal Archives - Recent CD News for Construction Claims Professionals

 

Construction Defect Journal is aggregated from a variety of news sources, article submissions, contributors, and information from industry professionals.

No content on this site should be construed as legal advice or expert opinion. By viewing this site you agree to be bound by its terms and conditions

 

Copyright 2017 - Construction Defect Journal – All Rights Reserved