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Insurance – CGL – Construction Inspection – Negligently Conducted – Professional Services Exclusion

State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Morningstar Consultants, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-143-17, 11 pp.) (Mary Geiger Lewis, J.) 6:16-cv-01685; D.S.C.

Holding: The insurance that plaintiff issued to defendant excluded coverage for “bodily injury, property damage or personal injury due to rendering or failure to render any professional services or treatments. This includes … supervisory or inspection services….” This exclusion bars coverage for defendant in underlying lawsuits that accuse defendant of negligence in its rendering or failing to provide inspections of certain building units.

The court grants plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

Defendant suggests that the exclusion is inapplicable because defendant holds no professional licenses. Period. There is nothing else. Defendant avoids advancing any basis for this assertion.

It is not within the court’s role to take a single simple sentence in a counseled case, fashion an argument, adorn it with legal citations, and then judge the strength of its own argument. Defendant’s perfunctory and undeveloped claim is deemed waived.

Defendant also argues that the insurance would be rendered meaningless if the exclusion were applied in this coverage dispute. The court disagrees, especially given the deposition testimony of defendant’s founder and principal shareholder, Herschell Morningstar.

Mr. Morningstar testified that he sought insurance for situations in which he might “kick over a bucket of paint or step through a ceiling while doing a value in place inspection….” He also acknowledged that he understood that he was not getting “the kind of insurance that might pay if [he] missed something or put something down wrong in a written report.” Mr. Morningstar’s deposition testimony makes defendant’s argument untenable.

The plain meaning of the inspection exclusion negates any coverage for defendant with regard to the underlying lawsuits.

Motion granted.

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