A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling in favor of QBE Insurance Corp. in disputes over an immobilized micro-tunnel drilling machine.
Dallas, Oregon-based James W. Fowler Co. used the machine in the construction of a pipeline in North Dakota in 2017 when it could no longer move due to ground motion and was immobilized about 100 feet below the surface, according to court documents in James W. Fowler Co. v. QBE insurance co.
After QBE refused to compensate Fowler for the loss, the company filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon. The court ruled in Fowler's favor and ruled that the company had claimed a "direct physical loss." "Dispute if (the machine) is impossible to recover and (provided it is recyclable) if recovery costs would be unreasonably expensive."
"That dispute is genuine and substantial and therefore precludes a summary judgment for Fowler," the panel said in reverse court, referring the case back to further proceedings.
Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.