Storage Tanks

August 30, 2017

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

Source:, 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.”…

January 7, 2011

County sues Simao company over the removal of fuel tanks

Publication Date 01/06/2011
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Posted on:

Jefferson County filed an expected lawsuit Wednesday against Onondaga Development LLC over the removal of underground fuel storage tanks at the former Griff’s convenience store.

The county has been at odds for months with P.J. Simao, principal of Onondaga Development, over a 2007 agreement in which the county claims Mr. Simao, the former owner of the disputed site, agreed to pay cleanup costs.

According to state Supreme Court documents filed at the county clerk’s office, the county entered into an agreement with Mr. Simao to buy parcels at 21291 Route 12 and 21303 Route 12, which include the Griff’s building and the former SMX Transport property.…

December 28, 2010

AT&T Settles $25 Million UST Lawsuit

Source: State of California Website, January 17, 2006

Attorney General Lockyer Announces $25 Million Settlement With AT&T For Failing To Inspect And Repair Underground Storage Tanks

Joint State-Local Enforcement Yields One of the Nation’s Highest Penalties

Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that AT&T has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a lawsuit that charges the company with repeatedly failing to test and repair its web of underground storage tanks throughout the state, and failing to shut down tanks with inadequate pipe systems. The settlement is the second highest in the nation related to violations of underground storage tank laws.

“An intensive investigation conducted together with local prosecutors and regulators concluded that AT&T repeatedly failed to comply with laws that require the company to inspect its underground tanks and make repairs to faulty systems,” said Lockyer. “Every day they postponed inspections and repairs, they risked catastrophic leaks and spills of MTBE and other toxic chemicals into our environment and surrounding communities. This settlement will force AT&T to overhaul its business practices throughout the state so that its underground storage tanks, and the public, are safe.”…

December 28, 2010

EPA fines Euclid of VA $3.1 million for UST violations in VA, MD and DC

Source: US EPA Website, Release date: 11/16/2006

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that an EPA Administrative Law Judge has assessed a $3.1 million penalty against Euclid of Virginia, Inc. for not taking required measures to detect and prevent leaks from underground storage tanks at 23 gas stations in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

In a 118-page decision, Judge Carl C. Charneski imposed the largest penalty ever assessed by an EPA Administrative Law Judge for violations of any federal environmental statute. The judge ruled that Euclid failed to maintain required leak detection and control equipment, and perform required leak detection activities for 72 underground storage tanks at 23 gas stations.…

December 28, 2010

Tevis Oil found responsible for MTBE leak: Jury awards four families nearly $400k worth of damages

Source: Baltimore Sun, April 22, 2010

A Carroll County jury found a local oil company responsible for polluting water wells with a hazardous gasoline additive and awarded four Finksburg families $395,000 worth of damages, according to court records and lawyers for the case.

The six-person jury in the class-action civil lawsuit reached the verdict yesterday after three days of deliberations. Clifford Keffer, the named-plaintiff whose house was closest to a Tevis Oil-owned Jiffy Mart gas station that emitted methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, was awarded $230,000. Three other families will split the rest of the money.

Keffer filed the suit five years ago and testified during the trial that he has had to use bottled water at his residence since 2003 after MTBE was discovered in his well.

MTBE is a suspected carcinogen whose effects on drinking water have not been determined. The chemical makes gasoline burn more cleanly, but several studies have shown it to cause cancer in lab rats.

The Maryland Department of the Environment identified the Jiffy station, at the corner of Suffolk Road and Route 140, as the source of pollution. Lawyers for Tevis argued during the three-week trial that there was no spill or leak discovered, and that the additive originated from a neighboring junkyard.

Bruce Hill, a lawyer for the plaintiff, had asked the jury for a minimum of $1.5 million during his closing arguments last week. The jury, however, declined to award money to any of the plaintiffs for costs of future medical expenses.…

December 20, 2010

Plaintiffs added to $3.75 billion water contamination suit

Publication Date 04/26/2010
Source: Frederick News-Post (MD)

The number of plaintiffs involved in a multibillion water contamination lawsuit appears to be growing, according to documents filed at the Frederick County Courthouse.

In addition, lawyers for the plaintiffs have filed a fifth cause of action seeking damages.

In March, lawyers for 20 Frederick County families filed suit seeking $40 million in damages for each of 60 plaintiffs over gasoline leaks from the Green Valley Citgo station in Monrovia .

The $2.4 billion suit sought $10 million for each of the 60 plaintiffs on four causes of action: negligence, strict liability of an abnormally dangerous activity, private nuisance and trespass to land.

This month, lawyers amended their complaint to add 15 plaintiffs from the area as well as an additional cause of action — public nuisance.

The damages in the suit now seeks $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages for each of 75 plaintiffs for a total of $3.75 billion in damages.

Furthermore, the suit also seeks $300 million on each cause of action to restore the water supply, according to court documents.…

August 16, 2010

Leaking UST Causes Hydrocarbon Contamination

Acknowledgement to XL Environmental

A potential buyer of an XL insured’s property conducted a due diligence investigation, revealing several areas of hydrocarbon contamination in the soil. Based on these conditions, the sale of the property fell through. Subsequently, a geophysical survey identified the existence of a previously unknown, leaking underground storage tank (UST) at the location.

With the approval of XL’s environmental claims department, the insured contracted to have the UST and impacted soil removed. The state regulatory agency required a corrective action plan, which was completed by a third party environmental consultant. XL’s environmental claims counsel reviewed site documentation and monitored site activities throughout the claim process.

The insured’s Pollution and Remediation Legal Liability Policy paid $400,000 for all costs and expenses associated with the remediation. XL’s claims counsel worked with the insured to ensure the remediation response was comprehensive and the costs were reasonable.…

August 16, 2010

Class Action Lawsuit for UST Leak of MTBE into Potable Well

Acknowledgement to XL Environmental

An XL insured, a gas station, was contacted by the county health department following an odor/taste complaint by a customer who had purchased a beverage from the store. The insured’s potable well was tested, revealing methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in concentrations that were twice the state actionable level.

Investigation by the county health department linked the MTBE to a leak from the piping/dispenser system associated with underground storage tanks. A class action lawsuit was filed against the insured by local residents for a mix of claims including property damage, bodily injury and fear of injury.

XL’s environmental claims counsel retained local defense counsel to represent and defend our insured’s interests. An experienced, local remediation consultant was also retained on the insured’s behalf to design a remediation system.

A remediation technology was selected and implemented. A settlement was reached with respect to the class action litigation whereby certain residents’ homes were purchased, others received dollar settlement amounts and others received a settlement including medical monitoring costs.

The insured’s Pollution and Remediation Legal Liability Policy paid $1,200,000 to resolve the class action lawsuit on the insured’s behalf and remediate the insured’s property.…

August 16, 2010

Broken Supply Line from AST Caused Oil Release

Acknowledgement to XL Environmental

A carbon black manufacturing plant, insured by XL, experienced an oil spill on their property. The spill was the result of a broken supply line in an aboveground storage tank located on the property. Seven hundred barrels of oil were released into ditches on both sides of a roadway adjacent to the property, as well as a neighboring river. The storm water ditches also discharged into the river. In all, approximately 100 barrels entered the river.

Various local agencies and federal regulatory agencies were notified, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The insured was charged with the remediation efforts.

XL’s environmental claims counsel and a technical consultant handled the claim on the insured’s behalf. A local remediation consultant was retained to work with the insured, interact with the various agencies on the insured’s behalf and develop an approved remediation plan. The local water authority closed its intake due to the spill and the main concern was a vulnerable local mussel population.

The insured’s Pollution and Remediation Legal Liability Policy paid $2,300,000 for remediation associated with the oil spill. Approximately 200 tons of soil was excavated and 600 barrels of product were removed through the land remediation activities. With respect to remediation of the river, clamshell bucket dredging occurred and a river sediment monitoring plan was implemented.…

July 23, 2010

Oil Company Pays $150 Million to Families Affected by Gas Leak

An underground storage tank in Jacksonville, Maryland dripped about 26,000 gallons of gasoline over 37 days in this small community twenty miles north of Baltimore before the leak was discovered in February 2006. The oil company responsible for the leak is issuing each family affected a disbursement of $1 million plus the value of their home, as well as payment for lifetime medical monitoring. Total payout to the 91 families affected is $150 million. In addition, the company paid the state $4 million and has spent $38 million on the cleanup.…