Louis commented on Xia v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co., a Washington decision holding that a pollution exclusion does not negate liability if negligence was the primary cause of damages.
“The Washington Supreme Court extended the efficient proximate cause doctrine to where it has not, for good reason, traditionally been extended,” Louis told Law360. The “efficient proximate clause doctrine” establishes coverage if a covered risk is at the root of a chain of events leading to damages, even if that chain involves an intermediate excluded risk. “The concept of the EPC doctrine and the court’s application here undermine [commercial general liability] policies and go against how they are meant to be interpreted,” Louis said.
Probuilders Specialty Insurance Co., the insurer in this case, has filed a petition for rehearing at the Washington Supreme Court.