Accidents Will Happen? Judge Says Insurer Must Defend Builder Accused

Accidents Will Happen? Judge Says Insurer Must Defend Builder Accused of Violating ‘Tree-Cutting Statute’ | Page Printed From:

U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston. Credit: Google. 


“In the court’s view, the allegations here are broad enough to reasonably sketch a claim that Partington had a mistaken but reasonable belief that it was authorized to cut the trees,” the court said. “Such a claim would be for property damage arising out of an occurrence, meaning it would be a ‘loss [that] fits the expectation of protective insurance reasonably generated by the terms of the policy,’ thus triggering Nautilus’s duty to defend.”

February 08, 2023 at 01:51 PM

5 minute read

Allison Dunn


Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

What You Need to Know

  • In an underlying state matter, Simone and Douglas Blowers allege that Partington Builders removed trees and dirt from their property without permission. The Blowers filed a claim under the Massachusetts tree-cutting statute for removing the privacy the trees created.
  • Partington sought coverage under its commercial general liability policy by Nautilus. Nautilus denied coverage because the complaint did not allege property damage or bodily injury arising from an occurrence; the complaint alleges that Partington intentionally damaged the property; and the policy excludes coverage for damages arising from the movement of soil.
  • A district judge said Nautilus has a duty to defend Partington, but concluded it does not have a duty to indemnify at this stage.

Whether a developer mistakenly believed it had the right to remove trees and dirt from a property was the deciding factor in a ruling requiring its insurer to defend it against a lawsuit brought by the property owners.

A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that, while it was too soon to determine whether Nautilus Insurance Co. had a duty to indemnify Partington Builders in an underlying case, the insurer did have a duty to defend based on the possibility that its policyholder had accidentally removed trees and dirt from a property without permission.

Want to continue reading?
Become an ALM Digital Reader for Free!

Benefits of a Digital Membership

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

Already have an account? Sign In Now

*May exclude premium content

You Might Like

4 minute read

3 minute read

2 minute read

2 minute read

{{#unless content.trending.user}}

Sign In to See Your Feed {{else}}

{{/unless}} ]]]]]]]]>]]]]]]>]]]]>]]>

    {{#unless content.trending.user}} {{#each}}

  • {{ lawfirm }}

    {{count}} new blips

  • {{/each}} {{ else }} {{#each content.trending.user}}

  • {{ lawfirm }}

    {{count}} new blips

  • {{/each}} {{/unless}}

{{#unless content.trending.user}} {{ else }} {{/unless}}

Trending Stories

  1. Pro Reprints & Licensing

    Mentioned in a story?

    License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

    Featured Firms

    Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates P.C.

    75 Ponce De Leon Ave NE Ste 101

    Atlanta, GA 30308

    (470) 294-1674

    Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone

    2 Oliver St #608

    Boston, MA 02109

    (857) 444-6468

    Smith & Hassler

    1225 N Loop W #525

    Houston, TX 77008

    (713) 739-1250

    Presented by BigVoodoo

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

From Data to Decisions

Dynamically explore and compare data on law firms, companies, individual lawyers, and industry trends.

Exclusive Depth and Reach. Compass includes access to our exclusive industry reports, combining the unmatched expertise of our analyst team with ALM’s deep bench of proprietary information to provide insights that can’t be found anywhere else.

Big Pictures and Fine Details Compass delivers you the full scope of information, from the rankings of the Am Law 200 and NLJ 500 to intricate details and comparisons of firms’ financials, staffing, clients, news and events.

Litigation Attorney

Congenial downtown litigation firm with bank and insurance coverage/bad faith defense/subrogation practice seeks a self-starter with 1-2 yea…

Apply Now ›

Subscribe to

Don’t miss the crucial news and insights you need to make informed legal decisions. Join now!

Unlimited access to

Access to additional free ALM publications

1 free article* across the ALM subscription network every 30 days

Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

0) { $(“.main-nav-left img,#side-nav img”).each(function(){ var thisImg = $(this).attr(“data-menuimg”); $(this).attr(“src”,thisImg); }); } }); if($(“.my-account”).length >0) { $(“.my-account”).on(“mouseover”,function() { for(i = 0; i ]]]]]]>]]]]>]]> Source

Leave a Comment