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Chou v. Farmers Ins. Exchange

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-21-2012
Case #: A145931
Wollheim, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A145931.pdf

Insurance Law: Clauses found in a homeowner's insurance policy that are ambiguous as to their application will be construed against the policy drafter.

Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers) appealed the trial court’s ruling granting Chou’s motion for summary judgment. The motion argued that Chou’s homeowner’s insurance policy with Farmers covered losses caused by direct physical contact of a vehicle to policyholder’s home. The damage at issue in this case arose when an uphill neighbor’s home, with its vehicle, collapsed onto Chou’s home. Farmers argued that the policy did not cover such damage in this case because the cause for the vehicle’s contact with the home was “concurrently” caused by the collapsing uphill home. The trial court found the clause in contention ambiguous and construed the policy against the drafter, in this case, Farmers. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court’s finding and rejected Farmers’ contention that the “concurrent cause” provision of the policy unambiguously resolved the issue. Affirmed.