Mississippi Supreme Court Addresses Earth Movement Exclusion

Earth and space

The Supreme Court decided whether the earth-movement exclusion precluded coverage for the damage to Smith’s foundation.

December 9, 2019
Anthony Hatzilabrou - Traub Lieberman

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.

Mr. Hatzilabrou may be contacted at thatzilabrou@tlsslaw.com



714.701.9180

Arrange No Cost Consultation

 

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 2020 - Construction Defect Journal – All Rights Reserved