General Business Toxic Torts

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April 2014: Insurance Litigation Update

New York Court of Appeals Answers Important Questions About Whether an Increased Risk of Harm Constitutes a Physical Injury. Over the past fifteen years, the question of whether tort claims for medical monitoring fall within...more

How Many Occurrences? Determining the Number of Occurrences for Fracking-Related Claims in CGL Policies

The controversy surrounding the use of the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil and gas is well-documented. While proponents argue that fracking presents the opportunity for an...more

Weekly Law Resume - January 2014: Insurance Coverage – Additional Insured Endorsements

Transport Insurance Company v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (January 13, 2014)- Ambiguities in an insurance policy are normally resolved “in favor of the...more

Brownfield land in the UK: directors’ and officers’ liability

Introduction - In this first in a series of briefings on topics relevant to those involved in brownfield land, we look at the issue of directors’ and officers’ personal liability....more

Shutting Down a Capital City: How High Will Business Interruption Claims Go?

On Thursday, January 9, 2014, a major chemical spill into West Virginia’s Elk Rivet cut off water to more than 300,000 people in the Kanawha Valley and surrounding nine counties. The chemical leak was from a facility owned by...more

Potential Recovery Opportunities Arising From Pollution Claims

Energy production in the United States is at an all-time high. In 2013, an average of 7.5 million barrels of oil were pumped every day, which bested the previous production record (2012) by one million barrels. Domestic oil...more

Louisiana Court of Appeal Rejects Plaintiff's Attempt to Join Claims of Contamination of Separate Parcels with Different Lessees...

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana issued an opinion on December 11, 2013, that may have a profound impact on litigation related to contamination from historic oil and gas exploration and production operations in...more

2013 Review Of 3rd-Party Pollution Exclusion Decisions

Decades after its inception, the liability insurance policy’s pollution exclusion remains a much-litigated area of insurance law. In the third-party liability context, the provision precludes coverage for injury or damage...more

New ASTM Environmental Site Assessment Standard

Many are familiar with the “Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard” issued by ASTM, used for satisfying “All Appropriate Inquiry” for environmental contamination. Last week, ASTM issued a revised standard, Phase I...more

Digging in the Dirt? Allocating Environmental Liability in Real Estate Transactions

While adverse environmental conditions may be unavoidable, appropriate due diligence can help both real estate buyers and sellers avoid a liability mess. The conveyance of commercial or industrial real estate often...more

Indiana Court of Appeals Once More Asked to Interpret AIA Standard Construction Contract

This week's discussion focuses on the interpretation of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) standard construction contract by the Indiana Court of Appeals in the recent case Allen County Public Library v. Shambaugh &...more

Oklahoma Court Enforces Terms of Pollution Buy-Back

In its recent decision in Star Ins. Co. v. Bear Prods., Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148559 (E.D. Okl. Oct. 16, 2013), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma had occasion to consider the...more

Cocamide-DEA Causing Prop. 65 Headaches for Personal Care Products Companies

When Proposition 65 (Prop. 65) warning requirements took effect for a common ingredient in shampoo and skincare products this past June, the plaintiffs’ bar took notice. To date, 29 notices of violation have issued to dozens...more

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Fine-Tuned By Fifth Circuit

The Fifth Circuit has taken steps to fine-tune the interpretation and implementation of the agreement BP negotiated to settle its massive liabilities arising from the April 2010 oil spill following the explosion of the...more

Insureds Must Exhaust Coverage From Solvent Insurers

On September 24, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that policyholders must look to its solvent insurers before seeking benefits from the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (“Guaranty...more

The Lone Ranger Rides Again – The Fifth Circuit’s Withdrawal of its Ranger Opinion and Certification to the Texas Supreme Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has responded to the request for rehearing in Ranger Insurance, Ltd. v. BP P.L.C., 710 F.3d 388 (5th Cir. Mar. 1, 2013) by withdrawing its March 1, 2013 opinion (reversing the...more

New Phase I ESA Standard To Be Issued In November

New Standard Will Help Clarify Environmental and Historical Site Conditions For South Florida Developers - A new standard for performing Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) is expected to be released in...more

Hold On To Your Insurance … Federal Court Certifies Deepwater Horizon Questions To Texas Supreme Court

BP’s woes from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf continue. The federal Fifth Circuit in In re: Deepwater Horizon, withdrew an opinion of a three-judge panel and certified questions for consideration by the Supreme...more

New Developments Involving the Deepwater Horizon Incident

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed course on August 29th and withdrew its earlier opinion in a dispute involving Transocean Deepwater Drilling, Inc., Ranger Insurance, Limited, and BP, P.L.C., among...more

Reinsurance Newsletter - September 2013: Delaware Court Approves Of Discovery Order Granting And Denying In Part Motion To Compel...

Mine Safety Appliances Co. v. AIU Ins. Co., C.A. No. 10C-07-241 MMJ, 2013 Del. Super. LEXIS 229 (Del. Super. Ct. Jun. 6, 2013). A Delaware state trial court approved a Special Discovery Master’s memorandum opinion and...more

Officers and Directors Face Personal Liability Under the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine

A fertilizer plant explodes, damaging neighboring properties, and causing injury and death to bystanders. A manufacturing facility releases a toxic substance into the air causing harm to a nearby community. A vessel spills...more

Environmental Due Diligence Standards: Present and Future

The first half of 2013 has experienced greater economic activity than in recent years. The housing market appears to be recovering, albeit slowly. More lending and transactional activity is occurring at the commercial level....more

South Carolina Court Rejects Theory of Seamless Claims Made and Reported Coverage

In its recent decision in GS2 Engineering & Environmental Consultants, Inc. v. Zurich American Ins. Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95137 (D.S.C. July 9, 2013), the United State District Court for South Carolina had occasion to...more

Late notice by petroleum transporter results in insurance coverage denial

In the matter of Starr Indem. & Liab. Co. v. SGS Petroleum Serv. Corp., Case No. 12-20545 (5th Cir. June 18, 2013), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently upheld their prior decision in Matador Petroleum...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects Insured’s Attempt to Use Lack of Prejudice When Notice Provision is Separately Negotiated

The 5th Circuit rebuffed an insured’s attempt to circumvent policy language requiring notice within 30 days of a pollution occurrence in a bumbershoot (umbrella) policy in Starr Indemnity & Liability Company v. SGS Petroleum...more

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