Environmental Insurance Toxic Torts

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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

Absolute Pollution Exclusions Are Absolute When There Has Been Pollution

Pollution exclusions first became routine in liability policies in the early 1970s. After a decade of often unsuccessful litigation trying to enforce those exclusions, insurers introduced a so called “absolute” pollution...more

Washington Court of Appeals Holds No Duty to Defend: An Invitation to Initiate Cleanup Is Not A Suit

On June 2, 2014, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a published opinion regarding what constitutes a “suit” in the context of environmental liability claims under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The court held...more

Washington Court Rules Insurer’s Duty to Defend Environmental Liability is Triggered by Agency’s Explicit or Implicit Threat of...

A party faced with strict liability under the Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) for the costs of cleaning up environmental contamination often has insurance that might apply, but a lingering question has been at what...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

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

Malibu High School Teachers Letter to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Regarding their Concern that...

Malibu High School Teachers Letter to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Regarding their Concern that Contaminants at Malibu High School are Causing Cancer. A letter signed by 20 Malibu Middle and...more

In Alabama, Bad Faith Claim Defeated As A Matter Of Law Though Basis For Coverage Denial Was Debatable

A policyholder’s tort claim for the bad faith refusal to pay a claim was dismissed as a matter of law where a legitimate dispute existed as to coverage liability at the time of the coverage decision by the U.S. District Court...more

Oregon Enacts Significant Amendment to Environmental Clean-Up Insurance Statute

On June 10, 2013, Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon signed into law a significant amendment to the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Assistance Act, ORS 465.475 et seq. (the “OECAA Amendment”)....more

Oregon Senate Bill 814 Regarding Environmental Claims Handling Regulations Signed into Law

On June 10, 2013, the governor of Oregon signed into law Senate Bill 814, creating sweeping reforms on environmental claims-handling regulations and available remedies for insureds facing liability for cleanup of contaminated...more

Do Liability Policies, Particularly Pollution Liability Insurance Policies, Exclude Coverage for All Injunctions? The Fifth...

The Fifth Circuit handed down an important decision last week, Louisiana Generating LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, clarifying the scope of coverage under a Premises Pollution Liability Insurance Policy. The...more

Defense Cost Analysis in Complex Environmental Fee Claims

Introduction - Many of our litigation management audits involve complex environmental cleanup cases. In these cases, it is important to first evaluate the underlying matter, including the fact patterns of the various...more

Senate Bill 814 Proposes Sweeping and Retroactive Changes to Environmental Claims Handling in Oregon

On March 13, 2013, the Oregon legislature introduced Senate Bill 814 to create sweeping reforms on environmental claims handling regulations and available remedies for insureds facing liability for cleanup of contaminated...more

Insurance Recovery Law -- Apr 18, 2013

Ninth Circuit Narrows Insurers' Options in Pursuing Subrogation Claims Under CERCLA - Why it matters: The Ninth Circuit confirmed that Chubb could have maintained a subrogation action against potentially liable parties...more

Rhode Island Cleans Up Problematic Superfund Precedent That Undermined Federal Settlements

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island has vacated its 2010 summary judgment decision in Ashland Inc. v. GAR Electroforming, 729 F. Supp. 2d 526 (D.R.I. 2010), just days after receiving an amicus memorandum...more

The Intersection of Subrogation and Environmental Law — The Ninth Circuit’s Tyranny of Logic over Common Sense

In a decision that exalts casuistry over common sense, the Ninth Circuit recently held that an insurer who reimbursed $2.4 million in CERCLA response costs to its policyholder had no subrogation rights against the potentially...more

Nanotechnology And Asbestos: Informing Industry’s Approach To Carbon Nanotubes, Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide, And Nanosilver

With greater knowledge comes greater responsibility, and greater liability. When it comes to nanotechnology, our ability to understand the potential risks is unprecedented, thanks in part to the asbestos mass tort experience....more

In Alabama, Cost of Complying with a PRP letter Now Insured Under CGL Policies

In a recent ruling of interest to any company named as a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at a Superfund site, the Alabama Supreme Court has held that a PRP letter constitutes a “suit” under a comprehensive general...more

Michigan Court Holds Tank Repair Costs Not Covered Under UST Policy

In its recent decision in H & M Petro Mart v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163205 (E.D.Mich. Nov, 15, 2012), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan had occasion to consider the...more

Mold, Asbestos, and Raw Sewage – The Toxic Stew that Sandy Left Behind

Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc across the Eastern Seaboard and is predicted to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. New York’s Governor Cuomo estimates that the storm may have had a $50 billion impact...more

Hurricane Sandy and Environmental Compliance

As we all prepare for -- or cope with -- the impacts of this storm, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe. Unfortunately, environmental impacts are inevitable. We are mindful that EPA was criticized after Katrina for...more

State of California v. Continental Insurance Company, et al.

Insurance Coverage – Stacking of Policy Limits on Progressive & Continuous Loss - California Supreme Court (August 9, 2012) In this decision, the California Supreme Court has ruled for the first time that in a...more

Failure to Perform Appropriate Pre-Purchase Investigation Renders Buyer Liable for Cleanup

New Jersey property buyers need to be aware of liability for existing contamination as a result of failing to do an appropriate environmental investigation prior to purchasing. The recent case State Farm Fire and Cas. Co. v....more

Is Your Vehicle a CERCLA Facility?

While we tend to think of a CERCLA “facility” as the real property where environmental contaminants have come to be located, it is important to remember that CERCLA’s definition of “facility” is actually much broader than...more

State Supreme Court Rules Against Insurers in Stringfellow Acid Pits Case

Larry Golub was quoted in an Aug. 9, 2012, article by The Recorder (subscription required) on the state Supreme Court ruling in State of California v. Continental Insurance, involving the cleanup of the Stringfellow Acid...more

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