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The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed in full the Orange County Superior Court’s granting of Essentia Insurance Company’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Carolyn A. Mathews handled the Motion for Summary Judgment and the opposition to the appeal, and Maria A. Starn handled the oral argument.

Essentia Insurance Company (OneBeacon) issued a classic boat insurance policy on Ashoff’s 1958 classic Chris Craft Continental 18-foot wood boat, the Amore that insured Ashoff against “accidental direct physical loss or damage except as specifically excluded.” The policy excluded from coverage loss or damage caused by or resulting from neglect, wear and tear, defect, deterioration, weathering and inherent vice.

On November 17, 2010, Ashoff reported to Essentia’s agent, Hagerty Class Marine Insurance Agency, that the Amore sank where it was berthed. Ashoff said he had last used the boat on November 14, 2010, there were no recent repairs or issues with the boat and he did not hit any submerged object. A marine inspector hired by Hagerty concluded that the vessel sank due to wear, tear and fatigue of the hull planking and seal joints in the transom area, and Hagerty denied coverage on that basis.

Ashoff filed suit against Essentia for breach of contract and bad faith. Ashoff alleged that he did not impact anything and nothing impacted him. Ashoff’s February 14, 2012, opposition to Essentia’s Motion for Summary Judgment was accompanied by his declaration in which he stated that a large ship went by the Amore causing a large wake that hit the Amore hard. Ashoff engaged a marine surveyor, who opined that the Amore did not sink due to wear, tear and fatigue of the hull.

The Court of Appeal found that Ashoff’s whole story changed when he opposed Essentia’s Motion for Summary Judgment and the trial court was free to disregard it.