Thursday, July 21, 2011

US District Court holds that continuing violation of rights occurred at the time of the original violation

In 2006, a house owned by the underlying plaintiffs was damaged by a fire. They later filed a complaint against the town of Saugus alleging that the town unlawfully demolished the house and in 2007 illegally collected costs associated with the demolition. The town sought coverage for the claim from Zurich Casualty, who denied any duty to defend.

The Zurich policy was an occurrence policy in effect from July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2010. The town argued that there was a claim of an independent due process violation (failure to abate the costs paid by the underlying plaintiffs to the town).

In Saugus v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., __ F.2d __, 2011 WL 2311873 (D. Mass.), the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts held that the occurrence was the actions of the town shortly after the fire, and continuing claims arising out of that occurrence did not affect the date of the occurrence. (I would have to give some thought to how that fits into a triggers of coverage analysis.) It also held that the claims were a known loss when the policy period began.

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