Court of Appeals Expands Earth Movement Exclusion

In Pioneer Tower Owners Association v. State Farm (a case handled by Kushnick Pallaci) the Court of Appeals limited the application of the “earth movement”exclusion in an insurance policy by holding that the exclusion did not apply to “man made” causes of earth movement.  In other words, the exclusion, as it was written in the State Farm policy, did not exclude losses where humans intentionally removed the earth from under somewhere else.  The Court of Appeals has now limited its holding from Pioneer Tower in its decision in Bentoria Holdings v. Travelers Insurance.

In Bentoria Holdings the Court found that the Travelers policy was different that the State Farm policy in one key aspect.  The Travelers’ Earth Movement exclusion specifically stated that it applied to movement “whether naturally occurring or due to man made or other artificial causes.”  The Court of Appeals found that this language evidenced a clear intention to unambiguously exclude excavation activities from the realm of losses covered by the Travelers Earth Movement exclusion.

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