Recently, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that structural damages to the foundation of an insured’s home came within the earth movement exclusion in a homeowner’s policy, notwithstanding a provision in the policy which provided coverage for water damage resulting “from accidental discharge or overflow of water … from within … [p]lumbing, heating, air condition or household appliance.”
In Mississippi Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co. v. Smith, 264 So. 3d 737 (Miss. 2019), the appellee, Smith, filed a lawsuit against her homeowner's insurance company, Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company (“Farm Bureau”) for its refusal to pay for repairs to the foundation of Smith’s home. Smith alleged that the refusal to pay for repairs amounted to breach of contract and asserted claims for bad faith and tortious breach of contract. In response, Farm Bureau filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis of the policy’s earth-movement exclusion, which provided that Farm Bureau “did not insure for loss caused directly or indirectly by…Earth Movement…[which] means…[a]ny other earth movement including earth sinking, rising or shifting... caused by or resulting from human or animal forces.” Smith filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment on the basis that the earth-movement exclusion did not preclude coverage because her insurance policy also contained a clause expressly covering water damage.