Court Finds That Insurer Has a Duty to Defend Under Claims-Made Pollution Liability Policy

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N. Yamhill Station, LLC. v. Great American Alliance Ins. Co.

(District Court, Oregon, May 21, 2009)


Effective October 6, 2006, plaintiffs’ gas station was covered by a pollution liability policy.  In November 2006, a leak in a gasoline storage tank was discovered.  The insurer denied coverage because the leak commenced before the inception date of the policy.  However, the court disagreed, holding that the underlying complaint could be reasonably interpreted as alleging that an environmental incident occurred after the inception date of the policy.  Plaintiffs alleged multiple releases that occurred some time between July 2006 and November 2006.  Because some of the releases may have occurred after October 6, 2006, summary judgment in favor of the insurer was inappropriate


By Toni Frain