West Liberty loses appeal of squirrel electrical damage case

Power line image from MGN

WEST LIBBERTY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says an insurance company does not have to pay the city of West Liberty for damage to property caused by a squirrel that climbed onto an electrical transformer and created an electrical arc.

The court says in a decision released Friday that the policy held by the city from EMC insurance excluded damage caused by electrical arcs that were not related to lightning.

The city filed a lawsuit in January 2016 after EMC refused to pay the more than $213,000 in damage.

The city claimed the squirrel caused the damage but a district court judge and the Iowa Court of Appeals concluded the damage was caused by the electrical arc generated when the squirrel touched a 7,000-volt clamp and a grounded metal frame.

The lower courts concluded the arc policy exclusion applied and the Supreme Court justices agreed.

An attorney for the city did not immediately respond to a message.

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