Whether a developer mistakenly believed it had the right to remove trees and dirt from a property was the deciding factor in a ruling requiring its insurer to defend it against a lawsuit brought by the property owners.

A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that, while it was too soon to determine whether Nautilus Insurance Co. had a duty to indemnify Partington Builders in an underlying case, the insurer did have a duty to defend based on the possibility that its policyholder had accidentally removed trees and dirt from a property without permission.