Third Circuit Affirms Denial of Contribution Claim In Environmental Lawsuit

Great Northern Ins. Co. v. Greenwich Ins. Co.

(3rd Cir. (Pa.) March 24, 2010)


Atlas Resources owned and operated several natural gas wells.  A February 2004 blowout at one of the wells resulted in insurers with the Chubb Group of Insurance Co. (“Chubb”), including Great Northern Insurance Company and the Federal Insurance Co., paying more than $1.6 million in cleanup costs and property damage.  The insurers filed suit against Greenwich Insurance Company (“Greenwich”), which also insured Atlas Resources, demanding equitable contribution.

Continue Reading

Court Denied Summary Judgment to Insurer As Plaintiffs’ Claims Against Polluting Corporation Were Not Time-Barred By Indiana Code

Bernstein v. Bankert et. al.

(United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, March 16, 2010)


Plaintiffs’, as Trustees of a pollution site, sought to recover environmental response costs from defendants under CERCLA and sought declaration against various insurance companies regarding coverage under their policies.  One of the insurers moved for summary judgment contending that plaintiffs’ claim are time barred by Indiana Code 23-1-45-7, as the action was not filed within two years after the dissolution of the company causing the release.  

Continue Reading

Insurer Not Liable for Damages from Coal Dust Pollution

Grizzly Processing LLC v. Wausau Underwriters Ins. Co.

(E.D. Ky. March 11, 2010)


Grizzly Processing LLC (“Grizzly”) was sued in state court by ninety plaintiffs alleging the company contaminated their homes with coal dust and other pollutants in Floyd County, Kentucky.  Plaintiffs also alleged damages from plant noise, including blast operations, violations of certain environmental regulations, and violations of the Kentucky Surface Mining Act.  Plaintiffs claim seek compensatory damages including diminution in the value of their residences, costs of repair, medical expenses,

Continue Reading

Insurers Not Responsible for Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Jefferson Block 24 Oil & Gas LLC v. Aspen Ins. UK Ltd.

(E.D. La. January 29, 2010)


In November 2008, plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming that defendants were obligated to reimburse it for nearly $3 million in cleanup costs relating to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The leak occurred on November 2007 while plaintiff was testing a recently acquired pipeline.  Plaintiff responded to the leak from November 2007 until April 2008.  Plaintiff and its insurers disputed whether the pipeline

Continue Reading

Travelers Reaches Settlement With Reinsurer

The Travelers Indemnity Company v. La Fonciere Compagnie D’Assurances, et al.

(D. Conn. December 30, 2009)


Travelers Indemnity Co. (“Travelers”) issued primary, umbrella and excess insurance policies to The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (“Goodyear”) in the late 1970s.  Travelers was reinsured by La Fonciere Compagnie D’Assurances (“La Fonciere”), Phoenix Greece Ins. Co. S.A. (“Phoenix”), and Assurance Generales de France S.A. (“AGF”) for a portion of the risk associated with its policy covering Goodyear.


Goodyear became liable for environmental claims.  Travelers

Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Sought for Insurers’ Delay in Asserting Defenses

Hinkle v. The North River Ins. Co.

(D. Alaska December 4, 2009)


The owners of property on which a dry cleaning business was operated seek a declaratory judgment against the prior owners’ insurers, preventing them from denying coverage for claims plaintiffs made against the prior owners to recover for costs the state of Alaska assessed against plaintiffs to clean up the property.


In 1999, the insurers agreed to defend the prior owners under a reservation of rights, saying they could not locate the

Continue Reading

Pennzoil to Pay $2M Deductible for Each Pollution-Related Condition Alleged in Four Underlying Complaints

Pennzoil-Quaker State Co. v. American Int’l Specialty Lines Ins. Co.

(S.D. Tex. Sept. 4, 2009)

Pennzoil-Quaker State Company sued its insurer, American International Specialty Lines Insurance (“AISLIC”) alleging breach of contract and a violation of Chapter 542 of the Texas Insurance Code. Pennzoil obtained a claims-made pollution legal liability policy from AISLIC for its Shreveport, Louisiana facility. In 2001, residents who lived near the Shreveport facility sued Pennzoil, alleging that Pennzoil released various pollutants into the air and groundwater surrounding the refinery, causing physical injury,

Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Bars New Manville Asbestos Claims Against Insurer

Travelers Indem. Co. v. Bailey

(S. Ct. June 18, 2009)


The Supreme Court upheld a long-standing agreement among insurers, policyholders, and some claimants that allowed Travelers, an insurer of John-Manville Corp., to contribute insurance proceeds to a trust in exchange for immunity from future claims. The arrangement became a model for more than 40 other asbestos cases. Plaintiffs, however, sued Travelers, arguing that it broke consumer protection laws as well as common law by conspiring to hide the dangers of asbestos and failing to warn

Continue Reading

50 State Comprehensive Toxic Tort Trigger-of-Coverage Report

With the dramatic increase in silica-related claims, it is essential that insurance carriers and insureds re-visit coverage issues unique to toxic tort actions.  It has been reported “at least 1.7 million U.S. workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in a variety of industries and occupations, including construction, sandblasting and mining.”  Below please find a comprehensive 50 state report detailing the current status of the trigger of cover rules in various jurisdictions throughout the United States.

 Download Trigger.of.Coverage


by Thomas F. Segalla

Continue Reading

Chinese Drywall Insurance Coverage Litigation Begins

As claims mount and federal and state agencies have begun a quest to determine who is responsible for the Chinese drywall fiasco, insurance disputes regarding coverage for the claims are beginning to make their way through the courts. In March 2009, the first complaint regarding homeowner’s insurance for drywall claims was filed.  Two Florida policyholders sued their homeowners’ insurer, seeking coverage for property damage resulting from Chinese drywall in their home.  See Baker v. American Home Assurance Company, filed in the United States

Continue Reading