Pennsylvania Court Rejects Manifestation Trigger for Latent Property Damage Claims

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently determined that the multiple trigger rule, and not the manifestation rule, is the proper standard to use when determining whether an insurance policy is triggered in an environmental property damage claim involving a long latency period between exposure and manifestation. See Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Company v. Johnson Matthey, Inc., et al., 2017 WL 1418401 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Apr. 21, 2017), This decision, which is at odds with statements by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
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Court Finds Ambiguity Over When Property Damage Commenced

Ambiguity surrounding the term “commencing” led a court to deny an insurer’s motion seeking to dismiss an insured’s property damage claim, despite the insured’s inability to state when the property damage at issue first occurred. In a question of first impression, a federal district court in Illinois denied an insurer’s motion for summary judgment earlier this month, ruling that the term “commencing” during the policy period was ambiguous when applied to the circumstances of the case. Temperature Serv. Co. v.
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No, No, No: No Accident, No Property Damage, No Duty to Defend Under Illinois Law

Westfield Insurance Co. v. West Van Buren, LLC, et al., 2016 IL App (1st) 140862 represents a continuation of Illinois law in the context of an insurer’s duty to defend construction defect claims. As articulated in Westfield, accidental events are required to trigger a duty to defend and shoddy workmanship does not constitute property damage. In addition, since the underlying complaint did not seek damages for any personal property damage, the Illinois Appellate Court held Westfield Insurance Company had no
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It’s Not a Blob, It’s a Probiotic: Wisconsin Supreme Court Applies the “Integrated Systems” Rule in Coverage Dispute

In Wisconsin Pharmacal Company, LLC v. Nebraska Cultures of California, Inc., 2016 WI 14, the Wisconsin Supreme Court applied the “integrated systems” rule to a coverage dispute. In a narrow decision, it reversed the Court of Appeals decision and determined that the incorporation of a defective ingredient into a tablet did not constitute “property damage” caused by an “occurrence.” Further, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that even if “property damage” was alleged, exclusions would apply to bar coverage. The coverage
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Earth, Wind, and Water: New York Court Enforces Anti-Concurrency Clause In Superstorm Sandy Case

In Clarke v. Travco Insurance Company, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104267 (SDNY, August 7, 2015), a federal judge sitting for the United States District Court, Southern District of New York granted a homeowners insurer summary judgment in a dispute with its policyholder regarding coverage for a Superstorm Sandy claim. The homeowner was insured for first-party property damage to his home pursuant to a standard homeowners policy. His home, located near the Hudson River, sustained damage as a result of flood
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Insurers Not Liable To Third-Party Beneficiaries to a Homeowners’ Insurance Policy for Property Damage as a Result of Migration of Oil

The New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether the plaintiffs’ claims for private nuisance and trespass, in an action for damages resulting from the migration of heating oil from an underground storage tank on a neighboring property, were properly dismissed in Ross v. Lowitz, et al., No. A-101-13 (N.J. Aug. 6, 2015). In the same matter, however, the court also considered whether the plaintiffs could maintain claims as third-party beneficiaries against the insurers that provided homeowners’ coverage to the former and
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N.Y. Court of Appeals Upholds Carriers Interpretation of Ensuing Loss Exception to Water Exclusion

In Platek v Town of Hamberg (N.Y. Ct. Apps., Feb. 19, 2015), New York’s highest court reversed the decision of the Fourth Department appeals court siding with the carrier’s interpretation of the water exclusion contained within a homeowner’s all risk policy. The relevant policy language provided as follows: “ [The policy] does not cover loss to the property . . . consisting of or caused by: . . . Water . . . on or below the surface of the ground, regardless
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Insurer Owes No Coverage for Property Damage Due to Late Notice

There was a dispute between the former executives of a dissolved construction company and its insurer over property damages. The executives of the dissolved insured had agreed to a settlement of $420,000 with home owners over allegedly shoddy work performed on their homes in 2006.  The insured had a claims-made general liability policy with the insured, and sought coverage for the $420,000 settlement. The insurer brought a motion for summary judgment based on late notice. The insured had been initially
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