Thursday, May 05, 2005

Today's opinion

In its first published opinion since April 25, the Court today held that the plaintiffs' homeowners' insurance did not cover damage caused when heavy rains triggered a mudslide, causing a tree to fall on the plaintiffs' house.

The plaintiffs had an "open peril" policy with Hartford, which insured against all risks that did not fall within certain specific exclusions. When Hartford refused to cover the loss, the plaintiffs sued for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Hartford successfully moved for summary judgment. That order was upheld by the Court of Appeal and, today, by the Supreme Court.

The Court held that a "weather conditions clause" in the contract excluded the peril of rain inducing a landslide. Thus, the Julians were out of luck. The Court's opinion is available here.