South Dakota Supreme Court Holds That Faulty Workmanship Constitutes an “Occurrence”

September 14, 2017
Samantha Martino - Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.

The South Dakota Supreme Court recently determined that damage resulting from a subcontractor’s failure to test soil compaction before constructing a home constituted an “accident” and was therefore an “occurrence” under a commercial general liability (CGL) policy.

In Owners Ins. Co. v. Tibke Construction, Inc., the homeowners hired Tibke Construction, Inc. to build a new house, and Tibke Construction hired subcontractor Jerry’s Excavating to perform excavation work. The homeowners contended that Jerry’s Excavating failed to do soil compaction testing before commencing construction, which resulted in the home being built on highly expansive soils, leading to damage including excessive settlement, cracking and structural unsoundness.

Ms. Martino may be contacted at


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