Environmental Civil Procedure Insurance

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News & Analysis as of

Oklahoma Holds Question of Whether Fracking Causes Earthquakes is for the Courts to Decide.

The issue of whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes has first-party insurance implications because policies typically exclude damage from tremors attributable to man-made causes as opposed to purely...more

Vermont Supreme Court Rejects Traditional Environmental Harm Limitation for Pollution Exclusion

In its recent decision in Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Energy Wise Homes, Inc., 2015 VT 52 (Vt. Apr. 3, 2015), the Supreme Court of Vermont had occasion to consider whether a pollution exclusion is limited to...more

Order of Civil Authority Claim for Superstorm Sandy Barred by Flooding Exclusion in New York

On Thursday of law week, a federal court in New York City tossed an Order of Civil Authority (OCA) claim by a New York City law firm in Bamundo, Zwal & Schermerhorn, LLP v. Sentinel Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39409...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court's misapplication of the pollution exclusion and disregard for policyholders' business and purpose in...

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two opinions in which it held that pollution exclusions barred coverage for third-party claims resulting from alleged contamination of water due to the seepage of cow manure and...more

In New York, Failing to Timely Notify Insurance Carriers of a Pollution Incident May Cost You

On January 8, 2015, in Travelers Indem. Co. v. Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc., the New York Appellate Division upheld a decision finding that Orange & Rockland Utilities Inc.’s notice to Travelers Indemnity Co. of...more

Insurance Recovery Law -- December 2014 #2

Ammonia Release Constitutes “Direct Physical Loss” Under Policy - Why it matters: A New York federal court recently ruled that the discharge of ammonia at a manufacturing plant – causing a facility shutdown for...more

Policy Observer - December 2014

Giving and Receiving: Insuring Company-Sponsored Volunteerism: This is the time of year when we are reminded of the importance of giving. Many companies not only donate generously to nonprofits and community programs,...more

New York Supreme Court Pro Rata Allocation for MGP Sites on Long Island Clarifies Self-Insured Periods

A New York State trial court judge applied a pro rata time on the risk allocation for pollution from manufactured gas plants on Long Island. Keyspan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.,Index No. 604715/1997,...more

NE Supreme Court Issues Insurer-Friendly Decision on the Applicability of the Pollution Exclusion

In interpreting the scope of the pollution exclusion, one question seems to appear in case after case — what exactly does the pollution exclusion exclude? In State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Dantzler, 289 Neb. 1 (2014),...more

With Sewers Backing Up, Messy Damage Claims are On the Rise

Many homeowners and other property insurance policies contain an exclusion to address one of the by-products of the increased frequency of severe weather: it bars coverage for property damage caused by “water which backs up...more

Is There a Duty to Defend Pollution Claims? It’s the Complaint, Stupid

This Spring, cases from Florida and Wisconsin reaffirmed the general proposition that a liability insurer’s duty to defend must be determined from the specific claims in the underlying complaint against the insured, and not...more

Not So Fast: New York’s High Court Relieves Pressure on Liability Carriers to Disclaim Coverage “As Soon As Possible”

Under a New York statute, a liability insurer that denies coverage for a death or bodily injury claim must provide written notice of its decision “as soon as is reasonably possible.” Last year, in Long Island Lighting Co. v....more

If the Suit Fits: A Washington Court Clarifies Triggers for the Duty to Defend

Like many other federal and state environmental laws, Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) exposes property owners to strict liability, regardless of fault or intent, for certain types of environmental contamination. ...more

Washington Insurance Law 2014 Mid-Year Update

During the first six months of 2014, Washington judges issued several notable insurance-related decisions. Some of those decisions were favorable to insurers and could benefit insurers in future insurance claims and lawsuits...more

California Insurance Coverage Cases Raising Key Issues On The Horizon

This year, 2014, is lining up with interesting insurance coverage cases pending across the country which may lead to far reaching decisions. In California specifically, it is apparent to us that the Hartford Insurance...more

Forum-Shopping Insurance Companies' Latest Tricks

Decades ago, insurance companies tried to persuade trial courts in California to apply the law of some other state to multi-party environmental and asbestos insurance coverage disputes because the insurance companies believed...more

Another State Weighs in on Pollution Exclusions in General Liability Policies

In May 2014, Nevada became the latest state to interpret the breadth and applicability of the pollution exclusion contained within a third-party general liability policy. Although many states have considered this question,...more

There is No Need To Be Alarmed By Alarmist Readings of New York’s Most Recent Ruling On Waiver of Notice Defenses

The New York Court of Appeals recently reversed and remanded a lower court’s ruling that insurers had waived their late notice defense by not raising the defense until years after they first received notice of a pollution...more

New York High Court Finds that New York Insurance Law §3420(d)(2)’s Prompt Notice Requirement Does Not Extend to Claims Limited to...

In KeySpan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., et al., — N.Y.3d –, (N.Y. June 10, 2014), a case involving two environmental damage claims, the New York Court of Appeals reversed an appellate decision which...more

Use chemicals in your business? Read your insurance policy: You might not be covered.

A recent federal appeals court ruling underscores the need for businesses using potentially irritating chemicals to check their insurance policies for “absolute pollution exception” clauses. These increasingly common clauses...more

California Court Denies Summary Judgment on Known Conditions Exclusion

In its recent decision in Lennar Mare Island v. Steadfast Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26405 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 28, 2014), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California had occasion to consider the...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Case Law Update: Week Ending January 31, 2014

I. FLORIDA STATE CASES - ILAN NIEUCHOWICZ - - Sinkhole Insurance Claim: trial court was required by Fla. Stat. § 627.7074 to stay insured’s lawsuit against insurer immediately after insurer filed request for neutral...more

Insurance Recovery Law - Jan 30, 2014

California Court Recognizes Named, Additional Insureds Have Different Expectations - Why it matters: While the holding sounds straightforward – the reasonable expectations of an additional insured about the...more

Is the Absolute Pollution Exclusion Absolute? It Depends on Which State Answers the Question

The battle over the scope of the absolute pollution exclusion in general liability policies continues to be fought in the context of defective drywall manufactured in China. An earlier blog entry discussed a Virginia court...more

Insurance Recovery Law -- Sep 19, 2013

Pollution Claims–Apparently Here to Stay - With the advent of the “absolute” pollution exclusion in commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies in the mid-1980s, many in the insurance industry predicted that...more

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