Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Catastrophe Claims Cover Page jpeg Recd From TRW Sat  05.16.20.

“Beneath Washington regulation,” stated the Washington Supreme Courtroom in a latest determination, protection beneath  the environment friendly proximate trigger doctrine works like this:

  1. A coated peril units in movement a causal chain.
  2. The final hyperlink of the causal chain is an uncovered peril.
  3. It doesn’t make any distinction if occasions throughout the causal chain, happening after the causal, coated peril units the chain in movement, are themselves excluded by the coverage even when they’re causes-in-fact of the loss at subject.

All that is defined in Seattle Tunnel Ptrs. v. Nice Lakes Reins. (UK) PLC, ___ P.3d ___, ¶ 33, 2022 WL 4241893, ¶ 33, at *8 (Wash. Sept. 15, 2022).  See typically Dennis J. Wall, Environment friendly Proximate Trigger Doctrine, § 7:3 in JOHN Okay. DiMUGNO, STEVEN PLITT, and DENNIS J. WALL, CATASTROPHE CLAIMS / INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR DISASTERS (Thomson Reuters Might 2022 Ed.).

The case through which this was defined is a protection case which grew out of a significant building venture in Seattle.  The venture concerned a tunnel and a “tunnel boring machine” or “TBM.”  The machine broke down, the venture stopped, and insurance coverage claims and litigation ensued.

The coverage at subject is a builder’s all-risk coverage with a “Equipment Breakdown Exclusion” or “MBE.”  The difficulty got here right down to a comparatively slim query:  Have been the design defects which induced the TBM to interrupt down a coated peril or perils, in order that there was protection beneath the environment friendly proximate trigger doctrine, or was the design defect excluded by the coverage’s MBE?  (Washington, D.C. doesn’t have an unique franchise for acronyms, apparently.  Acronyms are used all over the place together with in Washington State.) 

Because the Washington Supreme Courtroom put it, the environment friendly proximate trigger doctrine may apply provided that the preliminary occasion, right here, the design defects at subject, have been a coated peril beneath the builder’s all-risk coverage at subject:

This may first require a discovering that the Coverage covers harm for design defects and that these design defects induced harm to the TBM.  Beneath these circumstances, the environment friendly proximate trigger rule may present protection for the final hyperlink within the causal chain, even when it Is an excluded peril (i.e., the equipment breakdown).

Seattle Tunnel Companions,  2022 WL 4241893, ¶ 33, at *8.

That ruling was foreclosed by an earlier ruling in any respect ranges of this case.   The trial court docket granted abstract judgment that design defects have been an excluded peril, the Courtroom of Appeals affirmed the trial court docket, and the Supreme Courtroom affirmed the Courtroom of Appeals.  Seattle Tunnel Companions,  2022 WL 4241893, ¶ 4, at *1.

And so a protracted story made quick is that the causal occasion was not coated, so the environment friendly proximate trigger doctrine didn’t apply.

Please learn the disclaimer.  ©2022 Dennis J. Wall.  All rights reserved.



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