MICHAEL F. SCHMIDT OBTAINS AFFIRMATION FROM THE SIXTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS OF A SUMMARY JUDGMENT OF NO COVERAGE IN A PROPERTY INSURANCE CLAIM FOR IN EXCESS OF $1 MILLION
OL Matthews MD PC v Harleysville Ins Co, 826 Fed Appx 508 (CA 6th, 2020) 2020 WL 5413005. The plaintiff, O.L. Matthews, MD, PC, filed an appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals from the summary judgment we obtained in the US District Court for Harleysville Insurance Company. Matthews had filed suit against Harleysville seeking to recover in excess of $1 million for alleged damage to Matthews’ medical office building from an alleged roof leak. Following discovery including multiple depositions, we filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that coverage was excluded by multiple exclusions contained in the policy. Judge Drain agreed issuing an opinion granting summary judgment reported at 412 FSupp 3d 717 (ED Mich 2019). The plaintiff then appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and oral argument was held in June 2020. The court subsequently issued its opinion affirming the summary judgment based on two separate and distinct arguments we made. First, the court held that coverage was excluded by the exclusion for “loss or damage caused by or resulting from . . . wear and tear” based on the testimony of the witnesses and experts and agreed with our argument that the anti-concurrent causation rule applied, and thus, since wear and tear contributed to the loss, the policy did not provide coverage regardless of any other cause. The court also agreed with our argument that the exceptions to the “wear and tear” exclusion did not apply, because there was no applicable “specified cause of loss” as required by the policy. Second, the court also agreed with our argument that the Limitation that “we will not pay for loss or damage to . . . the interior of any building . . . caused by or resulting from rain” also applied to bar coverage, and the exception to this Limitation did not apply because the building did not “first sustain damage by Covered Cause of Loss to its roof, or walls through which the rain . . . enters,” because the damage to the roof was excluded by the “wear and tear” and negligent design exclusions. This is an important decision because it enforced the anti-concurrent causation rule which holds that if an excluded cause is a cause of a loss, other causes of the loss are irrelevant.