One of my partners won a Court of Appeals decision earlier this week wherein the court construed an earth movement exclusion in a factual scenario not previously presented. The case is Hearn v. Erie Insurance Exchange, No. M2012-00698-COA-R3-CV. Download a copy here


The language at issue in the policy provided that the company would not pay for loss directly or indirectly resulting from “earth movement due to natural or manmade events….” The Court of Appeals found no ambiguity in the language of this exclusion, and held that blasting damage, including damage because of vibration coursing through the ground, was manmade earth movement within the meaning of the exclusion. The Court concluded, as a matter of law, that cracks in the plaintiff’s home which were caused by shockwaves or vibrations triggered by blasting were excluded under the policy. 


This decision was somewhat dependent upon the language used in the exclusion, so check your policy language as you assess the impact of this case.