Odyssey Group Holdings Inc. does not have to pay most of the damages caused by the partial collapse of a Mississippi arts center based on exclusions from the plan, a federal appeals court said Friday, largely upholding a lower court decision below.
In July 2017, the Jubilee Center for the Arts in McComb, Mississippi, went into partial bankruptcy, following a ruling by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Hudson Specialty Insurance Co. v. Talex Enterprises LLC v. McComb Village.
Talex, the building’s owner, has assigned the city its rights under its general liability plan.
Its policy with Odyssey unit Hudson allowed for the recovery of additional costs due to property damage. But the “property exclusion” did not include costs incurred for repairing or replacing damage to property for any reason, including preventing personal injury or damage to another’s property, to said the judge.
The city paid $369,320 for services to prevent harm to residents or damage to nearby property.
In a subsequent case, the United States District Court in Natchez, Mississippi, found that most of the city’s expenses fell under this exclusion, with the exception of $6,372 for repairing a flower bed and street light.
The appeals court affirmed the district court’s decision, saying the exclusion “does not expressly include costs … for any purpose, including abatement of potential harm to the public or nearby properties.” and blaming third parties.”
The district court correctly found that the costs of partial demolition, stabilization, cleaning and engineering fell under the exclusion, but the costs of the flower bed and street lighting did not. It reversed a district court’s decision that $33,480 in police and fire department costs were excluded.
Attorneys for the case had no comment or did not respond to a request for comment.