Articles

July 13, 2018

Pork Giant Smithfield Foods Ordered to Pay $25M in Nuisance Lawsuit

Source: https://www.insurancejournal.com, July 5, 2018
By: Emery P. Dalesio

A federal jury in North Carolina has punished the world’s largest pork producer, deciding Smithfield Foods should pay two neighbors more than $25 million for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks after an industrial-scale hog grower expanded near their home.

The case, which was supposed to be one of the most favorable to Smithfield Foods out of dozens of similar pending lawsuits in North Carolina, turned out worse for the company than a previous lawsuit that rocked agribusiness in the country’s No. 2 pork-producing state.

That earlier case, selected by lawyers for more than 500 neighbors who are suing industrial-scale hog farms in eastern North Carolina, ended in April with jurors awarding 10 neighbors $51 million for nuisances they’d long tolerated. The fine was cut to about $3 million because North Carolina law limits punitive damages. The damages in the June 29 ruling are also expected to be slashed.…

July 13, 2018

Thousands of Bourbon Barrels Come Crashing Down in Kentucky

Source: New York Times Online, June 25, 2018
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

Bourbon is flowing in Kentucky, but don’t grab a glass.

Thousands of full barrels of bourbon, and possibly other spirits, came crashing down when a storage warehouse in Bardstown, Ky., partly collapsed on Friday.

The collapse at the Barton 1792 Distillery campus was called in to emergency services about 10:55 a.m., Milt Spalding, an emergency services director in Nelson County, said during a news conference on Friday.

The structure houses about 20,000 barrels, and an aerial video showed half of the building demolished. About 9,000 barrels were amid the rubble, Mr. Spalding said. Each barrel holds 53 gallons.

The cause of the collapse was still unknown as of Friday evening, but it did not appear to be weather related, Mr. Spalding said. No injures were reported.

The Environmental Protection Agency responded to the collapse because of concerns that alcohol may have seeped into the areas groundwater.…

July 13, 2018

Hundreds of birds stricken after Rotterdam oil spill

Source: AFP World News, June 5, 2018
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

Animal rescue workers on Monday were frantically cleaning hundreds of birds after an oil spill in the Rotterdam harbour at the weekend, when an oil tanker hit a jetty dumping some 200 tonnes of bunker fuel.

The Norwegian tanker Bow Jubail on Saturday crashed against a jetty in western Europe’s largest port, spilling the heavy bunker fuel into the section of the harbour reserved for offloading petroleum, west of the city.

“We are currently hard at work cleaning hundreds of birds, including swans,” said Anneke Heinecke of the Dutch water management agency Rijkswaterstaat.

“Many of the birds are covered in oil and it’s not easy to catch and clean them,” Heinecke told AFP.

The Rijkswaterstaat, together with other animal aid organisations, set up an “animal hospital” Monday capable of cleaning some 500 birds, she said.

In total, more than 300 birds have been captured and were in the process of being cleaned, Heinecke said.…

June 27, 2018

Hundreds of birds stricken after Rotterdam oil spill

Source: AFP World News, June 25, 2018
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

Animal rescue workers on Monday were frantically cleaning hundreds of birds after an oil spill in the Rotterdam harbour at the weekend, when an oil tanker hit a jetty dumping some 200 tonnes of bunker fuel.

The Norwegian tanker Bow Jubail on Saturday crashed against a jetty in western Europe’s largest port, spilling the heavy bunker fuel into the section of the harbour reserved for offloading petroleum, west of the city.

“We are currently hard at work cleaning hundreds of birds, including swans,” said Anneke Heinecke of the Dutch water management agency Rijkswaterstaat.

“Many of the birds are covered in oil and it’s not easy to catch and clean them,” Heinecke told AFP.

The Rijkswaterstaat, together with other animal aid organisations, set up an “animal hospital” Monday capable of cleaning some 500 birds, she said.…

June 19, 2018

Environmental Insurance Coverage: Now you have it – now you don’t

Source: https://www.lexology.com, June 15, 2018
By: Dawn M. Meyers, Berger Singerman LLP

In the transactional world, it has long been standard operating procedure to conduct due diligence and, should environmental conditions be found, contract around them through the use of indemnifications. With a booming economy, though, sellers in a seller’s market have grown less willing to offer indemnification, pushing buyers into the realm of environmental insurance. Increased demand for their product, however, combined with the knowledge gained from a growing body of claims experience have led insurance companies to “refine” their product to limit their risk. Tighter definitions combined with a new wave of exclusion endorsements require environmental insurance buyers to be particularly cautious and aware of what they are purchasing and what they are not.

Take for example the potential landmines in the Definitions section of a typical environmental policy. Coverage could be lost here in a number of ways. To illustrate this, let’s examine three common definitional pitfalls.

First, many policies will cover cleanup costs recommended by an “environmental professional.” Purchasers who have conducted due diligence may get comfort from this definition since they have already retained an environmental professional to advise them. However, some policies define “environmental professional” to mean only a licensed professional designated by the insurer and, as such, recommendations by a purchaser’s professional may be insufficient to insure coverage.…

June 19, 2018

Hurricane Season is Here Again: Preparing for the Worst with the Right Insurance

By: RT New Day, June 19, 2018

Here we go again. The hurricane season officially began June 1 with AccuWeather predicting three to five major hurricanes between now and November.

Last year, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused nearly $300 billion in total damages, while negatively impacting millions of lives. That’s because even after the flood waters receded, water contaminated by sewage and debris as well as mold and other microbial matter continued to impede cleanup and create health issues.

This is just part of the ongoing pattern. Wrecked homes, miles of flooded real estate and mold everywhere besieged New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In Sandy’s aftermath, many homeowners, commercial businesses and public housing authorities spent hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on mold problems that weren’t covered by many existing insurance policies.…

June 6, 2018

State: McLaren Flint was primary source of Legionnaires’ outbreak

Source: https://www.freep.com, May 30, 2018
By: Kristen Jordan Shamus

It couldn’t have been just the switch in the source of the water that caused the 2014-15 Genessee County Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that sickened 90 people and killed 12, a report released Tuesday from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services suggests.

Rather, the state’s top health officials say that following a lengthy investigation, only one source of contamination was found that explains the majority of the increase in cases — a common exposure at McLaren Flint Hospital.

“No other large building with high-risk plumbing was identified as a common source of exposure,” said MDHHS spokeswoman Angela Minicuci, noting that the department also investigated contamination at other large-scale, high-risk facilities such as health care centers, grocery stores, shopping centers and long-term care facilities.

For the study, the MDHHS completed the histories of 83 of the 90 people who had Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15. Of them, 51 had exposure to McLaren Flint Hospital.

June 4, 2018

Judge declines to dismiss lawsuit over toxic Monroe schools

Source: https://www.heraldnet.com, May 18, 2018
By: Kari Bray

Monsanto is accused of sickening adults and children by exposing them to toxic substances.

A company that has faced lawsuits around the country recently sought dismissal of a local case in which families say they were sickened by toxic chemicals at school buildings in Monroe.

A King County judge last week denied Monsanto Co.’s motion to dismiss a complaint that seeks damages for health issues allegedly caused by exposure to synthetic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls. Monsanto produced PCBs for decades. Production was banned by law in 1979, with the Environmental Protection Agency calling PCBs “toxic and persistent chemicals.”

The suit was brought in King County Superior Court in January by attorneys with Seattle’s Friedman Rubin law firm. They are representing adults and children who say they became ill after spending time on the campus at 351 Short Columbia St. It has housed the Sky Valley Education Center, which includes a popular parent partnership program, since 2011. The buildings previously were a high school, junior high and middle school.…

May 29, 2018

Last gasp for hog farm suit: ‘We don’t want to be hostages’

Read here about a lawsuit against a hog farm for horrendous odors.…

May 15, 2018

Pollution cleanup set for Washington Avenue dry cleaners

Source: https://www.timesunion.com, May 14, 2018
By: Brian Nearing

The state will be digging out an underground plume of potentially carcinogenic chemicals beneath a former Washington Avenue dry cleaners near several homes routinely rented to college students.

Plans by the Department of Environmental Conservation call for a $120,000 cleanup at the former site of RKO Cleaners, at 566 Washington Ave., to deal with unsafe levels of the industrial cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE, also known as PERC). The chemical was found in the ground, groundwater and in vapors coming out of the ground.

PERC is listed as a potential carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The DEC cleanup plan also calls for the underground injection of chemicals designed to degrade any remaining PERC.

Work is expected to start this summer and last about two months as about 180 cubic yards (about 18 dump truck loads) of tainted soil are removed for disposal elsewhere. Parts of the site contain PERC at 100 times the level considered safe for residential use.…