Airport Runway Collapse Claim
Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority, Inc. v. Triad Engineering, Inc., (West Virginia Circuit Court, Mass Litigation Panel, May 2018)
The firm obtained an order granting summary judgment in favor of its client, New Hampshire Insurance Company, on a finding that the manmade airport runway extension was not “Covered Property” under the New Hampshire property policy.
The runway extension was the largest manmade slope ever constructed. It extended the plateau on which the airport was located by some 500 feet, to create room for EMAS energy-absorbing blocks at the runway ends, at a cost of more than $30 million. When the manmade slope collapsed in March 2015, the airport sought first-party coverage under the policy.
The Mass Litigation Panel agreed with New Hampshire that the policy did not insure the manmade slope. Rather, the policy insured only 13 listed buildings and 41 listed items of airport equipment, the combined value of which roughly matched the total policy limit. The Panel found it to be unambiguous that the manmade slope was not among the property insured by policy, and additionally held that coverage for the slope was negated by the policy’s exclusions for land and costs for grading, filling, and excavating. The airport’s claim against New Hampshire was dismissed entirely.