News & Publications

In a Verdict Magazine article, Bob Olson and Gary Wax discuss the meaning of “sudden” in the context of an insurance policy that covers “sudden and accidental” water discharges, but not slow leaks

The “Metaphysical Moment” When a Pipe Begins to Leak Is Not a “Sudden” Discharge Where Damage Only Results From a Gradual or Continuous Process (2013) 2 Verdict 13.

In Brown v. Mid-Century Ins. Co. (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 841, the California Court of Appeal rejected the homeowners’ “metaphysical moment” theory.  It acknowledged that there may be some micro-analyzed instant in time when a pipe goes from a water-tight to non-water-tight condition: “A gradual process, viewed through an electron microscope that can show physical changes occurring in nanoseconds, can appear sudden at certain points in time.  Given a small enough time interval, even a slow gradual leak is sudden.”  But it rejected the use of such philosophical speculation in the context of insurance policy language interpretation.