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Motorists Mut. Ins. Co. v. Hardinger

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

March 10, 2005, Argued ; May 18, 2005, Filed

No. 04-1750

Opinion

 [*824]  OPINION OF THE COURT

SCIRICA, Chief Judge.

The District Court granted summary judgment to Motorists Mutual Insurance Company ("Motorists"), holding that Motorists had no duty to provide insurance coverage under David and Chrystal Hardinger's homeowner's insurance policy. We will vacate and remand.

At the end of October of 2000, the Hardingers bought a homeowner's insurance policy [**2]  from Motorists for their home in Berks County. Coverage under the policy began on September 29, 2000, and continued until October 1, 2001. Within a week and a half of moving in, Chrystal Hardinger and her children became ill, experiencing infections, as well as respiratory, viral, and skin conditions. The Hardingers vacated the premises on February 28, 2001, notifying Motorists on May 10, 2001, that they would pursue a property damage claim under the policy.

Motorists conducted a study on February 28, 2001, and received a report from the testing company on October 19, 2001. Motorists employed a second company to analyze the samples taken from the Hardingers' well. The test occurred on June 14, 2001, and the group issued a report on June 19, 2001. It found that the well was contaminated with e-coli bacteria. On August 26, 2002, a third testing company collected and tested water samples, and in a report issued on September 19, 2002, also found the samples contained e-coli.

On October 22, 2001, Motorists informed the Hardingers it would deny their property claim for the following reasons:

The occurrence of the loss was prior to the inception of the policy by Motorists Insurance [**3]  Group. The loss is also excluded under the current Home Owners Policy carried by the above insured.

The letter also stated that the loss fell under a policy provision that excluded loss caused by pollutants ("the pollution exclusion"). Motorists reaffirmed its denial of coverage in a letter dated October 4, 2002.

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131 Fed. Appx. 823 *; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 9030 **

MOTORISTS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. DAVID M. HARDINGER; CHRYSTAL HARDINGER, Appellants

Notice:  [**1]  RULES OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS MAY LIMIT CITATION TO UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS. PLEASE REFER TO THE RULES OF THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THIS CIRCUIT.

Prior History: On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. D.C. Civil Action No. 02-cv-08310. (Honorable Franklin S. Van Antwerpen).

Motorists Mut. Ins. Co. v. Hardinger, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28719 (E.D. Pa., Feb. 27, 2004)

CORE TERMS

pollution exclusion, bacteria, physical loss, contaminants, pollutants, predated, ambiguous, asbestos, summary judgment, coverage, insured, genuine issue of material fact, genuine issue

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, General Overview, Materiality of Facts, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Erie Doctrine