Mississippi “occurrence”

In National Builders & Contractors Insurance Co. v. Slocum Construction, L.L.C, 428 Fed. Appx. 430 (5th Cir. 2011)(unpublished), Anderson hired insured general contractor Slocum to build a house on land that Anderson had staked out.   When Anderson refused to pay for the completed house, Slocum tried to sell the house only to discover that Youngblood, a relative of Slocum, owned the land.   When Youngblood refused to sell the land to Slocum, Slocum sued Youngblood for fraud and unjust enrichment.  Youngblood counterclaimed for trespass seeking damages for lost rental profits.   Slocum tendered the defense of the counterclaim to its CGL insurer National Builders.   National Builders filed suit seeking a judicial declaration of no duty to defend or indemnify.  The federal district trial court entered summary judgment for National Builders.  On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed.  Applying Mississippi law, the court held that the allegation of Slocum’s intended construction of the house on the land staked out by Anderson did not constitute an “occurrence.”  The court rejected Slocum’s argument that the unintentional result—that the house was built on land not owned by Anderson—constituted the “occurrence.”

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