Why Does The Pollution Exclusion in California Insurance Policies Exclude Asbestos Building Contamination But Not Pesticide Building Contamination?

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There is no “bright-line” rule for when an ordinary layperson will consider a “release” of harmful substances in or around a residential structure to be “environmental pollution” rather than an “ordinary act of negligence.” One can imagine the Villa Los Alamos court just as easily analogizing the release of asbestos fibers from asbestos-containing building materials in a residential building to be an “ordinary act of negligence” on par with pesticide contamination a la MacKinnon rather than “environmental pollution” a la Miller. The clever insurance coverage attorney will start framing and controlling the analogy early on.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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