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Tennessee Court Of Appeals Rules That Concurrent Cause Doctrine Does Not Apply Where Covered Cause Is ‘Bound Up Inextricably’ With Excluded Cause

 Thursday, June 30, 2022

 JD Supra

In the insurance context, the concurrent cause doctrine provides that there is insurance coverage available when a covered (non-excluded) cause is a substantial factor in producing a loss, even though an excluded cause may have contributed in some form to the ultimate result.

Although Tennessee courts recognize the concurrent cause doctrine, there are some limitations on its application.

In a recent opinion, the Tennessee Court of Appeals rejected a mother’s argument for the application of the concurrent cause doctrine where an insured homeowner’s insurance policy specifically excluded claims or damages arising from or in connection with the swimming pool on the insured premises.

In Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company v. Payne,[1] the plaintiff mother, on behalf of herself and her deceased son, sued an insured homeowner for the negligent maintenance of the insured’s property in connection with the devastating drowning of her son in the insured’s swimming pool.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was doing laundry while house-sitting her parents’ house with her five-year-old child. The child wandered into the homeowner’s yard, climbed their unsecured deck, and drowned in the insured’s swimming pool.