SDNY Concludes Arbitrators Did Not Exceed Authority in Interpreting Product Pollution Liability Exception to Policy’s Pollution Exclusion

Carlton Fields
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Carlton Fields

Petitioner sought to vacate an arbitration award, arguing that the arbitration panel exceeded its authority in interpreting the terms of an insurance policy when it determined that certain claims fell within the policy’s product pollution liability exception to the pollution exclusion. The court found that the petitioner did not demonstrate that the panel manifestly disregarded the terms of the policy: first, the arbitration agreement specifically instructed the panel to interpret the terms of the policy and to determine whether and to what extent the respondent’s losses were excluded by the pollution exclusion or restored by the production pollution liability exception; second, the text of the policy served as the basis for the award, reflecting that the panel did not disregard its terms; and third, the panel explained that the product pollution liability exception only granted coverage for pollution that satisfies the exception’s three requirements, and the court could not review the merits of the panel’s contract interpretation. Accordingly, the award was confirmed.

HDI Global SE v. Phillips 66 Co., No. 1:20-cv-00631 (S.D.N.Y. May 12, 2020).

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