Claims – Pollution Legal Liability

June 18, 2018

Legionella found during water tests at VA hospital in Loma Linda

Source: Orange County Register (CA), June 14, 2018
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

Legionella bacteria was discovered Wednesday, June 13 at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, a facility at the center of a federal whistleblower complaint from a group of worried physicians and nurses.

Hospital officials learned of the Legionella through quarterly water safety testing, according to Wade J. Habshey, spokesman for the Pettis Medical Center.

“This does not mean there is a Legionella outbreak,” he said in a statement. “The facility has a zero-tolerance policy for Legionella.”

Mitigation efforts are underway and out-of-service signs have been placed in front of affected rooms and drinking fountains as a safety precaution.

“Service chiefs are notifying staff members as appropriate” regarding the remediation, Habshey said.

Information was not immediately available regarding how long it will take to remove the Legionella or whether patients have been transferred to other rooms during mitigation efforts.…

June 14, 2018

Legionnaires’ disease case suspected at UW Medical Center

Source: http://komonews.com, May 23, 2018

A case of suspected Legionnaires’ disease has been found at the University of Washington Medical Center — the third time in as many years that the disease has been suspected at the facility.

UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance report a suspected case of Legionella pneumonia involving a patient in a SCCA Hospital at the UW Medical Center.

Officials said the patient “has been diagnosed with a highly probable healthcare associated Legionella pneumonia.”

The patient is in satisfactory condition and is responding well to treatment, officials said.

“We believe this is an isolated case, and Legionella bacteria are rarely, if ever, transmitted from person to person,” UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance said.…

June 8, 2018

Bacteria Causing Legionnaires’ Disease Found At Wayne State

Source: https://patch.com, June 7, 2018
By: Jessica Strachan

Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was discovered in several Wayne State University buildings.

Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was located in several Wayne State University buildings, according to reports. The university began testing for potential legionella sources after an employee in the Faculty Administration Building was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, WDIV reported. Cooling towers on three campus buildings tested positive for legionella.

Remediation in those three towers began immediately Wednesday evening using the prescribed disinfection process, the university said. Legionella was also identified in a private bathroom in the faculty building, in a first-floor men’s bathroom in Scott Hall next to room 1200, and in a men’s bathroom next to room 118 in the Cohn Building. The bathrooms will be closed until they can be further evaluated.…

April 24, 2018

Two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease linked to hot tub at Water Oak

Source: https://villages-news.com, April 21, 2018

Two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease have been linked to a hot tub at Water Oak.

Water Oak is located off U.S. Hwy. 27/441 in Lady Lake.

The Florida Department of Health in Lake County is conducting an investigation of the two laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease traced to the hot tub at the club house at the 55+ community of about 1,100 manufactured homes in Lady Lake.

The Department of Health wants to know if anyone else may have become ill.

Anyone who may have visited the Water Oak clubhouse hot tub since Feb. 1 who may have experienced symptoms or have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease is encouraged to call the Department of Health at (352) 771-5573.

Legionnaires’ Disease can have symptoms like many other forms of pneumonia, so it can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of the disease can include cough, high fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches and headaches. The symptoms usually begin two to 14 days after exposure to bacteria. Most healthy people who contract Legionnaires’ Disease recover from the infection and most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics, according to the Department of Health.

Legionnaires’  Disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria that exists naturally in the environment. It can also be found in man-made water systems such as hot tubs, spas, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems or parts of the air-conditioning systems of large buildings.

Legionnaires’  Disease cannot be spread person to person, according to the Department of Health.

The first recognized cases of Legionnaires’ disease occurred in 1976 in Philadelphia. Among more than 2,000 attendees of an American Legion convention held at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, 182 attendees contracted the disease and 29 of them died.

April 16, 2018

New York Court Affirms Gas Company on the Hook for Environmental Cleanup Costs

Source: https://www.insurancejournal.com. April 16, 2018
By: Elizabeth Blosfield

The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that KeySpan Gas East Corporation is responsible for costs to clean up environmental contamination caused by manufactured gas plants owned by its predecessor during years when there was no pollution property damage liability insurance coverage available in the market. The court rejected KeySpan’s proposition to instead hold its insurer Century Indemnity Company liable for the cleanup costs.

“Long-tail claims present unique difficulties,” Judge Stein wrote in the New York Court of Appeals opinion document, adding that for long-tail claims, the injury producing harm is gradual, continuous and typically spans multiple insurance policy periods. In this case, the harm involved years when insurance coverage was in place in addition to years when no coverage was purchased.

“In these situations, courts across the country have been tasked with determining the appropriate distribution of liability among various insurers and between the insurers and the policyholder,” Stein wrote.

This case, Keyspan Gas East Corporation v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., Century Indemnity Company et al., comes after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) found long-term, gradual environmental damage at two manufactured gas plants in Rockaway Park and Hempstead owned and operated by KeySpan’s predecessor, Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO), decades after gas production began in the late 1880s and early 1900s. At both sites, the DEC found contaminants, such as tar, had seeped into the ground and leeched into the groundwater.…

April 16, 2018

A Decade of Environmental Claims

Source: Great American Insurance Group, Environmental Insider, April 2018

building site development

Site Redevelopment:

A site which had been purchased five years prior and insured under a premises policy was being redeveloped into multi-family residential units. During the development process, soil was being removed from the basement and testing revealed lead and other wastes. Upon further testing, a “hot spot” was identified that required removal and disposal from the build site.


building site development

Mold:

A general contractor, building a large senior living complex using wood frame construction, experienced frequent rains during the early stages of construction. Unfortunately, this led to delays in the work, allowing the wood frame to be exposed to the weather for extended periods. As a result, water damage and significant mold growth occurred. This appeared to require tearing out all existing work that had been done, causing a delay in construction. Luckily, through the involvement of the insurance carrier, a mold remediation plan was put in place allowing work to continue on schedule.

 


 …
March 29, 2018

New York Court Affirms Gas Company on the Hook for Environmental Cleanup Costs

Source: https://www.insurancejournal.com, March 29, 2018
By: Elizabeth Blosfield

The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that KeySpan Gas East Corporation is responsible for costs to clean up environmental contamination caused by manufactured gas plants owned by its predecessor during years when there was no pollution property damage liability insurance coverage available in the market. The court rejected KeySpan’s proposition to instead hold its insurer Century Indemnity Company liable for the cleanup costs.

“Long-tail claims present unique difficulties,” Judge Stein wrote in the New York Court of Appeals opinion document, adding that for long-tail claims, the injury-producing harm is gradual, continuous and typically spans multiple insurance policy periods. In this case, the harm involved years when insurance coverage was in place in addition to years when no coverage was purchased.

“In these situations, courts across the country have been tasked with determining the appropriate distribution of liability among various insurers and between the insurers and the policyholder,” Stein wrote.

This case, Keyspan Gas East Corporation v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., Century Indemnity Company et al., comes after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) found long-term, gradual environmental damage at two manufactured gas plants in Rockaway Park and Hempstead owned and operated by KeySpan’s predecessor, Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO), decades after gas production began in the late 1880s and early 1900s. At both sites, the DEC found contaminants, such as tar, had seeped into the ground and leeched into the groundwater.…

March 15, 2018

MURPHY ADMINISTRATION SETTLES MTBE POLLUTION CASES FOR $200 MILLION

Source: http://www.njspotlight.com, March 13, 2018
By: Tom Johnson

Natural-resources damage suit involves three oil companies who contaminated groundwater with potentially carcinogenic gasoline additive

The Murphy administration yesterday said it has settled cases with three oil companies who have agreed to pay nearly $200 million for polluting water with a potential human carcinogen.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced approval of draft settlements reached by the Christie administration to resolve natural-resources damage lawsuits against the three defendants involving contamination of groundwater with an additive to gasoline.

The cases involve a decade-old lawsuit filed against nearly 50 companies alleging they were responsible for polluting state waters with the gasoline additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). The state Department of Environmental Protection has found the potential human carcinogen at over 6,000 sites.

February 28, 2018

Court affirms Conrail not entitled to pollution coverage

Source: http://www.businessinsurance.com, February 27, 2018
By: Judy Greenwald

A Pennsylvania state appeals court has affirmed a lower court ruling and held the Consolidated Rail Corp. is not entitled to pollution coverage under policies issued by a Berkshire Hathaway Group unit and Continental Insurance Co.

The ruling by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg in Consolidated Rail Corp. v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Co. is the latest in a long-running pollution liability case that originally involved 55 insurers, according to Monday’s ruling.

The case involved efforts by Philadelphia-based Consolidated Rail, commonly referred to as Conrail, to obtain indemnification for contamination remediation, cleanup costs and other expenses related to toxic spills and releases at various geographic sites, according to the ruling.

“Conrail argues the insurance policy language is ambiguous and can be reasonably read to provide coverage for Conrail’s liability for pre-existing contamination, regardless of whether Conrail actively contributed to that contamination.”

The appeals court upheld a ruling by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in Philadelphia in favor of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway unit Stonewall Insurance Co. and Columbus, Ohio-based Continental Insurance Co.

“The court determined that the insurance policy required the insurers to reimburse Conrail only for the damages arising out of an ‘occurrence’ (i.e., environmental contamination) that was caused by or grew out of Conrail’s operations at the time,” said the ruling.

“In other words, the policies provided coverage to Conrail only if Conrail could prove it had discharged some of the pollutants during the policy terms for which it had incurred liability,” said the ruling.

The lower court determined facts for some of the sites insured by Continental, and for the site Stonewall insured, indicated that pollutants had been discharged before Contrail took over operations, it said.

“We see no reason to disrupt the court’s sound analysis regarding the interpretation of the insurance policy language and the application of the language to the sites, in question,” said the ruling.…

February 27, 2018

Shelburne business stuck with cleaning PCE contamination Cleaning up a 20 year PCE Contamination

Source: http://www.wcax.com, February 27, 2018
By: Taylor Young

A Shelburne business owner is warning others after he says he unknowingly purchased property contaminated with PCE.

“It’s just been challenging,” said Sean Ryan, the owner of Elegant Floors.

From 1996 to 2000, a dry cleaning business occupied his building. Ryan has a black plastic bag taped by the construction zone that reads “Jason’s Dry Cleaning.” It was found stuffed into piping under the concrete floor.

“They were literally spilling the chemicals right into this vat,” said Ryan.

Dry cleaners can use harmful chemicals, most commonly used is perchloroethylene. Officials say the chemical migrates through the soil and groundwater quickly and has negative impacts on health. According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, about 400 hazardous waste sites across Vermont are contaminated with PCE, and sometimes businesses are built right on top of a site.

Until recently, nearly 3,000 feet of soil under Ryan’s business was contaminated with PCE, all of which the state says came from Jason’s Dry Cleaning.

“They pretty much got out of this scot-free,” said Ryan.…