The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has held that a landscaping employee's negligence in inspecting and removing overgrown vegetation to prevent hazardous road conditions was covered under a professional liability policy covering "professional services" rather than under a general liability policy that excluded coverage for "damages due to any services of a professional nature." Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co. v. Erie Ins. Co., 2007 WL 2916172 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 4, 2007).
The court rejected the professional liability insurer's contention that the underlying actions constituted ordinary negligence in the performance of services that could have been performed by "almost anyone." The court opined that the employee could not have performed the services without specialized training and that the inspection and removal tasks that he performed constituted the very services the landscaping company was paid to perform. "One does not have to be a doctor or a lawyer to render professional services . . . . General liability coverage would include someone slipping and falling in [the Insured's] offices, but not the job that [the Insured] got paid for doing." The court therefore held that the failure to inspect and remove the vegetation was a wrongful act in the performance of professional services as defined in the professional liability policy and fell within the general liability policy's professional services exclusion.