West Virginia’s High Court Holds Defective Workmanship Causing Bodily Injury or Property Damage Does Constitute an “Occurrence” Under Standard CGL Policy

By: Robert F. PawlowskiMatthew S. Sachs, K&L Gates, Newark

West Virginia has joined the majority of states recognizing coverage for bodily injury and property damage claims arising out of defective workmanship.  Influenced by the growing number of states allowing for such coverage, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia rejected prior rulings and recently held that defective workmanship causing bodily injury or property damage constitutes an “occurrence” under a policy of commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance.  Cherrington v. Erie Insurance Prop. & Cas. Co., Case No. 12-0036, 2013 WL 3156003 (W.Va. June 18, 2013) (“Cherrington”).  In so holding, the Cherrington Court expressly overruled three of its prior decisions, decided between 1999 and 2005, holding that CGL policies do not cover defective workmanship claims.

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