In a ground-breaking decision, a Federal Judge in Louisiana has held that there is Insurance Coverage for the Chinese Drywall Damages alleged, under the Insuring Agreements of at least two of the many Homeowner's Insurance Policies at issue in In re Chinese Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, Download In re Chinese Manufactured Drywall Prod. Liab. Litigation (E.D. La. MDL 2047, Order and Reasons Filed December 16, 2010) PUBLIC ACCESS, also published as 2010 WL 5288032 *8 (E.D. La. December 16, 2010)(Multi-District Litigation, Louisiana substantive law; authorized password required to access Westlaw). Under the ASI Lloyds and Allstate Homeowner's Policies at issue there, the Chinese Drywall Damages alleged in that case constitute "covered 'accidental, sudden,' 'physical,' 'loss.' These Plaintiffs' allegations indicate that the damage caused by the Chinese drywall was 'unexpected,' 'unknown,' and 'unusual.' The Court must accept these allegations as true for purposes of the present issue [presented by 8 Motions to Dismiss and 2 Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings]." In re Chinese Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, 2010 WL 5288032 at *8. There was a big "but," however.
The many Homeowner's Insurance Policies in that case also contained "faulty materials" Exclusions and "corrosion" Exclusions, which barred all Coverage for the Chinese Drywall Damages alleged. Id. at *17-*21.
On the other hand, the Federal Court held in that case that three Exclusions did not apply under Louisiana substantive law, and that the "ensuing loss" exemption (or Exclusion, depending on one's viewpoint and the wording of a particular Policy) did not apply under Louisiana substantive law, either:
1. Not the Policies' Latent Defect Exclusions, id. at *12;
2. Not the Policies' Pollution or Contaminant Exclusions, id. at *15;
3. Not the Exclusion for Dampness or Temperature contained in one of the Homeowner's Insurance Policies at issue, id. at *17; and
4. Not the "ensuing loss" provision found in the Homeowner's Insurance Policies at issue. Id. at *24-*25.
Exclusions for similar Catastrophe Claims are addressed by Dennis J. Wall in Chapter 2 of "CATClaims: Insurance Coverage for Natural and Man-Made Disasters" (Thomson Reuters West 2010 Supplements).
The Chinese Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Mutli-District Litigation Case was posted for its Bad Faith features on Thursday, December 30, 2010 on Insurance Claims Bad Faith Law Blog.
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