includes the fumes at issue here, and that definition must be given effect.
Plaintiffs next argue that the policy phrase "discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release or escape" is ambiguous because it was not intended to apply to the everyday activities of a homeowner; rather, Plaintiffs argue that the phrase was intended to apply only to intentional acts of polluters who cause harm to the environment. This argument is without merit. The best manifestation of the intent of the parties is the clear and unambiguous language of the policy. Madison Constr. Co., 678 A.2d 802, 1996 Pa. Super. LEXIS 2034, 1996 WL 338810, at *2. Plaintiffs have not identified any ambiguity in the language quoted above, and none is apparent to the Court. See id. at *3-4 (no ambiguity in similar situation). Accordingly, the Court declines to look to, or speculate on, the intent of the parties in an attempt to avoid the plain meaning of policy language. Id.
It is undisputed and undisputable that the fumes seeped or migrated into the house. (See Am. Compl. P8; B. Brown Dep. at 35; D. Brown Dep. at 157-58; Pls. Answer to Def.'s First Set of Interrogs. P2.) Therefore, Plaintiffs' house damage claim falls within the plain language of the pollution exclusion, and outside the coverage provided by Defendant.
2. Personal Property Coverage
Plaintiffs' homeowners policy insures against damage to personal property caused by certain enumerated perils. (Policy at 8.) The only enumerated peril invoked by Plaintiffs, and the only one even arguably implicated here, is smoke. "Smoke" is defined, somewhat circuitously, as "sudden and accidental damage from smoke." (Policy at 8.)
Smoke did not cause Plaintiffs' damages. First, "damage from smoke" does not encompass contamination from chemical fumes. K & Lee Corp. v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 769 F. Supp. 870, 873-74 (E.D. Pa. 1991), aff'd, 953 F.2d 1380 (3d Cir. 1992). Second, the damage here was not "sudden," see Northern Ins. Co. v. Aardvark Assoc., Inc., 743 F. Supp. 379, 380 (W.D. Pa. 1990) (defining "sudden" as "abrupt and lasting only a short time"), aff'd, 942 F.2d 189 (3d Cir. 1991); on the contrary, it occurred gradually, over time, (B. Brown Dep. at 11; M. Brown Dep. at 157-58). Thus, any damage to Plaintiffs' personal property falls outside the coverage provided by Defendant.
3. Living Expenses
Coverage for additional living expenses is predicated on a covered loss that makes an insured's residence "not fit to live in." (Policy at 4.) As discussed above, the loss to Plaintiffs' residence is not a covered loss. As a result, Plaintiffs' additional living expenses are not covered under the policy.
B. BAD FAITH
To prevail on their bad faith claims, Plaintiffs would have to prove, inter alia, the absence of a reasonable basis for denying benefits. Horowitz v. Federal Kemper Life Assurance Co., 57 F.3d 300, 307-08 (3d Cir. 1995). As Plaintiffs' claims fall outside the policy coverage, Defendant's denial of coverage was necessarily reasonable, and Plaintiffs' cannot prevail on their bad faith claims.
There is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute, and Defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on all of Plaintiffs' claims. Accordingly, summary judgment will be granted in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiffs. An appropriate Order follows.
JUNE 28, 1996
For the reasons stated in the foregoing Memorandum, Plaintiffs M. Drew and Brenda A. Brown's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is DENIED, and Defendant American Motorists Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. Judgment is entered in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiffs on all of Plaintiffs' claims.
IT IS SO ORDERED.