Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
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THE MONTANA SUPREME COURT FINDS THAT A POLICY'S EARTH MOVEMENT EXCLUSION WAS NOT LIMITED TO DAMAGES CAUSED BY SOIL MOVEMENT AND FINDING THAT DAMAGE CAUSED BY A FALLING BOULDER WAS EXCLUDED

In Parker v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America, 384 Mont. 126, 376 P.3d 114 (Mont. 2016), the Montana Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for the insurance company that denied coverage for "earth movement" when the insured's cabin was damaged by a boulder falling down a hillside. The Court found that there was nothing in the language of the exclusion to indicate that there was a basis for separating rock from soil when considering an "earth movement" within the purview of the exclusion. The policy set forth examples of earth movement including landslides and lava flows but did not mention soil. The Montana Supreme Court agreed with the trial court's observation that a common understanding of the term landslide in the context of the exclusion necessarily include the large boulder that came down the hill and crashed into the insured's cabin.

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