SDV Insights

Environmental Insights

The "Unavailability Exception" is Unavailable to Policyholders, According to New York Court of Appeals

The New York Court of Appeals recently upheld a prior appellate division decision finding that policyholders facing environmental claims, spanning multiple years, cannot force their insurers partially on the risk to provide coverage for years where the insurers did not issue policies, even though pollution insurance was unavailable in the marketplace.

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District of Oregon Predicts Oregon's Place in "Plain Meaning" Pollution Camp

The Federal District Court for the District of Oregon recently decided that Carbon Monoxide constitutes a pollutant within the meaning of a pollution exclusion in a Commercial General Liability ("CGL") policy.

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Washington Supreme Court Issues Groundbreaking Pro-Policyholder Pollution Decision

The Washington Supreme Court recently extended the efficient proximate cause doctrine - commonplace in first-party insurance - to a commercial general liability ("CGL") pollution claim.

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Travelers' 3rd Circ. Win Curbs Insurers' Asbestos Exposure

In breaking news this week, LAW360.com posted that the Third Circuit ruled Friday that "a common exclusion found in a Travelers policy bars coverage for claims arising out of asbestos in any form, limiting insurers' potential exposure to asbestos injury claims by precluding policyholders from arguing that the exclusionary language is ambiguous and doesn't extend to products containing the carcinogen."

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Louisiana District Court Declines to Apply Total Pollution Exclusion

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently decided that a broad total pollution exclusion in a marine general liability policy did not bar coverage.

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California Federal Court Allows Policy Stacking to Cover Continuous Injury

"Stacking" is a practice that is very favorable for policyholders, especially in environmental coverage cases involving extended pollution events.

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Minnesota District Court Broadly Interprets Pollution Exclusion

The Minnesota Federal District Court recently decided against coverage for the release of carbon monoxide from an engine compartment into the open air due to a general liability policy's pollution exclusion.

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Something Stinks - But It Isn't This Alabama District Court Ruling

As our State by State Survey on CGL Pollution Exclusions shows, the definition of the word "pollutant" can be ambiguous in the insurance context. Recently, an Alabama federal judge held that sewage was not a pollutant for purposes of the pollution exclusion in a CGL policy.

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New York Clarifies Continuous Trigger Coverage Where Not All Years Are Covered by Policies

The New York Appellate Division recently ruled that insurers who are "on the risk" in extended environmental claims do not have to contribute to years when there was no coverage available in the marketplace for the insured to purchase.

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New Jersey Jumps On Board: EPA PRP Letters are a "Suit" Under a CGL Policy

Good news for policyholders in New Jersey. A New Jersey Superior Court judge has joined the majority of states in finding that Environmental Protection Agency "potentially responsible party" letters constitute a suit under a commercial general liability policy.

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