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Insurer Not Required to Cover Coal Company’s $10 Million Suit

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia granted an insurance company’s motion for summary judgment in a declaratory judgment action in, ruling that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify a coal company policyholder in a $10 million unpaid royalty suit in McDowell County.  The federal court agreed with the insurance company that the claims did not fall within the meaning of an insured “occurrence,” pointing out that “[t]he West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has expressly found that a breach of contract — even one that causes ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’ — ‘is not an event that occurs by chance or arises from unknown causes, and, therefore, is not an “occurrence.”’”

The insurer was represented by Flaherty Attorneys Thomas V. Flaherty, John Andrew “Jack” Smith, and Jason L. Holliday.

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