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Washington Federal District Court Rules that Insurer Must Defend Contractor in Sewage Eruption Suit

By January 9, 2024April 23rd, 2024Charles Davis

A Minnesota-based contractor was sued over injuries allegedly sustained due to exposure to raw sewage that was forcibly ejected from a toilet in a Belfair, Washington business.  The contractor’s liability insurer sued the contractor in federal court in Minnesota, arguing that the policy’s fungi and bacteria and pollution exclusions barred coverage.  Harper Hayes attorneys succeeded in having the lawsuit transferred from Minnesota to a Washington federal court where they obtained rulings that the insurance issues were governed by Washington law, and that under Washington’s efficient proximate cause rule, the exclusions could not overcome the allegations of (covered) faulty design, installation and construction.  The insurer was therefore obligated to defend the contractor, and it eventually settled the injury lawsuit on behalf of the contractor.