August 30, 2017

Lead-Based Paint Is a “Pollutant” within CGL Pollution Exclusion

Source: http://www.constructionrisk.com, August 2017
By: Kent Holland

Where lead-based paint was ingested by a tenant’s child, the tenant sued her landlord for injuries allegedly sustained by the child. The landlord tendered the claim to its commercial general liability (CGL) insurer who, instead of defending the case, filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that the pollution exclusion of the CGL policy barred coverage for the alleged injuries. The Owner held that, although not specifically listed in the pollution definition as a “pollutant,” lead-based paint is, in fact, a “pollutant” within the meaning of the policy. The policy’s pollution exclusion was, therefore, applicable, and the insurer had no duty to defend and indemnify the landlord. See Georgia Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Smith, 298 Ga. 716, 784 S.E.2d 422 (2016).

The terms of the CGL policy required the insurer “to pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’” … “only if: (1) the ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’ is caused by an ‘occurrence’ that takes place ….” An occurrence is defined as “an accident.” Coverage was subject to exclusions, including the pollution exclusion, which provided that the insurance does not apply to “(1) ‘[b]odily injury’ or ‘property damage’ arising out of the actual, alleged or threatened discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release or escape of ‘pollutants’: (a) [a]t or from any premises, site or location which is or was at any time owned or occupied by, or rented or loaned to, any insured.”…

October 19, 2016

Company denying blame for Hogans Creek pollution banked millions from insurance, court filing says

Source: http://jacksonville.com, October 17, 2016
By: Steve Patterson

A company fighting a city lawsuit over old industrial pollution around Jacksonville’s Hogans Creek has collected $4 million from environmental insurance policies a second company says show liability, papers filed by the second company say.

That second company, Houston Pipe Line, says the payments show Continental Holdings Inc. “engaged in a deeply troubling pattern of deception” about who’s responsible for pollution left from a long-demolished manufactured gas plant at Main and Orange streets.

Houston Pipe Line, which Continental said was liable for the pollution, asked a federal judge last week for an order making Continental pay Houston Pipe Line’s court bills to defend itself from a suit the other company filed.

Insurance policies have been used up, Houston Pipe Line told the judge, so Continental “no longer has the option to resolve this claim with someone else’s money.”

The city sued Continental in 2014, saying that company was the successor of a business that operated the plant from 1874 to 1912 and left behind coal-tar pollution contaminating the city’s Confederate Park and other property around the creek that separates Springfield from downtown.

Cleaning up that pollution could cost $17 million, a consultant told city officials in 2014.

Continental said it wasn’t responsible, and filed a countersuit last year that said Houston Pipe Line was the real successor to the last company directly tied to the plant, Florida Gas Co.

The insurance policies were issued decades ago to Florida Gas Co., and the filing last week included a photocopy of a $250,000 check listing Continental as the claimant on a Florida Gas policy.

“Now that the insurance proceeds have run out, however, CHI [Continental] no longer has the option to resolve this claim with someone else’s money,” the filing claims.

A Continental attorney, John R. Thomas, said Monday that “Houston Pipe Line’s lawyers have been excessively litigious” in arguing their case, and that the company had already deflated some arguments that it misrepresented its role.

In a filing last month, the company said it had handled insurance claims at other properties in Florida and had given insurers a settlement specifically mentioning its claims against Houston Pipe Line.

That filing said that Continental “made clear to the insurers that it was negotiating as the alleged successor to Florida Gas, not as Florida Gas itself. The statements quoted by Houston are taken out of context, are in any event openly contradicted by other evidence.”…

December 12, 2012

150 families sue over Jackson-area pipeline spill

Source: http://www.equities.com, December 4, 2012
By: Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

One hundred fifty families in Washington County are seeking compensation for property, health and emotional damage from the owner and operator of a fuel pipeline that spilled gasoline July 17 in a farm pasture in the Town of Jackson.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in Washington County Circuit Court, the families also are asking West Shore Pipe Line Co. of Arlington Heights, Ill., and Buckeye Partners L.P. of Breinigsville, Penn., and Houston, to establish a medical monitoring fund that would screen area residents for cancer.

Habush, Habush & Rottier S.C. in Milwaukee and the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos in Baltimore are representing the families in the lawsuit. The families are asking for a jury trial.

West Shore owns a 650-mile fuel distribution system within Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Pipelines extend from East Chicago, Ind., around Chicago to Milwaukee and Green Bay. A separate line runs from the Chicago area to Janesville and Madison.

“We do not comment on ongoing litigation,” said Patrick Hodgins, director of health, safety, security and environment for Buckeye Partners.

“We remain focused on the successful remediation of the spill and working with local authorities on a long-term solution to the water needs of the community,” Hodgins said in a statement.

A section of 10-inch pipe in the company’s Milwaukee to Green Bay line ruptured along a welded seam July 17 in the 1800 block of Western Ave. in the Town of Jackson. An estimated 54,600 gallons of gasoline spilled within a few minutes in a farm pasture on one of the highest points in eastern Washington County.…