United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
CHRIST CHURCH OF THE GOSPEL MINISTRIES d/b/a EVANGEL CHURCHES, Plaintiff,
GUIDEONE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND DISMISSING THE CASE (ECF NO. 10)
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an insurance case. Plaintiff Christ Church of the Gospel
d/b/a/ Evangel Christian Churches (“Evangel
Churches”) has filed a claim against their insurance
provider, Guideone Mutual Insurance Company
(“GMIC”), for breach of the commercial insurance
policy insured by GMIC.
has filed a motion for summary judgment asking the Court to
decide that Evangel Churches' loss is not covered by the
policy, which is now before the Court (ECF No. 10).
provided insurance to Evangel Churches' property located
in Roseville, Michigan, during the relevant time. (ECF No.
10-2). The policy provided coverage “for direct
physical loss of, or damage to, “Covered
Property” caused by or resulting from a “Covered
Cause of Loss.” Id. In early March 2017, a
contractor hired by Evangel Churches began work on replacing
the roof of the building, which had undergone extensive
repair in years prior. During the replacement work, the
contractor removed shingles from the roof, and utilized tarps
to cover areas where the shingles had been removed and not
yet replaced. (ECF No. 13-3). On or about March 7, 2017,
during a storm, and perhaps at other times, the tarps blew
off their position on the roof and/or were damaged. As a
result, water leaked into the interior of the building.
Evangel Churches says the interior of the building and the
personal property inside suffered extensive water damage.
insurance claim is not in evidence. At oral argument, the
parties suggested the claim was made over the phone.
(See ECF No. 10-5). The record is void of the
specifics of the damage. GMIC denied the claim, giving rise
to this dispute. (ECF No. 13-6).
policy expressly excludes coverage for interior water damage,
unless the building first sustains damage by a “covered
cause of loss.” The policy defines a “covered
cause of loss” as a “risk of direct physical
loss” unless the loss is excluded by the policy.
See Ex. A, attached. In the definitions section,
“specified causes of loss” include in relevant
part a windstorm, hail, or water damage. Thus, the
building would have to first sustain direct physical loss
from a windstorm, hail, or water damage in order to be
says the roof did not sustain damage by a
“covered cause of loss.” Rather, exposed areas or
openings in the roof created during replacement were
insufficiently covered by tarps.
policy defines the term "property damage” as:
a. Physical injury to tangible property, including all
resulting loss of use of that property. All such loss of use
shall be deemed to occur at the time of the physical injury
that caused it; or
b. Loss of use of tangible property that is not physically
injured. All such loss of use shall be deemed to occur at the
time of the "occurrence" that caused it.
(ECF No. 13-15, PageID.588). Further, a court may establish
the meaning of a term used in an insurance policy through a
dictionary definition. Fitch v. State Farm Fire
&Cas. Co., 211 Mich.App. 468 (1995). The
dictionary definition of “damage” is:
“physical harm caused to something in such a way as to
impair its value, usefulness, or normal function.”