February 28, 2018

Court affirms Conrail not entitled to pollution coverage

Source:, 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.…

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.”…

August 12, 2016

Despite Pollution Exclusion, Insurer On Hook for Contamination in Indiana

Source:, August 9, 2016
By: Andrew H. Perellis, Patrick D. Joyce and Craig B. Simonsen, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Northern District of Indiana rejected the insurer’s assertion that its pollution exclusion clauses unambiguously included all contaminants.

Indiana, unlike other jurisdictions, is pro-insured when it comes to providing coverage for damages arising from pollution events. This is so even where the insurance policy attempts to exclude coverage.

Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Gary-Chicago Int’l Airport Auth., No. 15-cv-00281 (N.D. Ind., July 25, 2016), is the latest in a line of cases to hold that, in Indiana, if an insurer wants to exclude coverage for pollution, the policy must state with specificity the contaminants and pollutants for which coverage is excluded.

In Old Republic, the Northern District of Indiana denied Old Republic Insurance Company’s (Old Republic) motion for summary judgment, finding that Old Republic must pay defense costs arising from contamination at the Gary-Chicago International Airport (Airport) because of ambiguities in the insurance policies issued by Old Republic.…

July 27, 2011

Chemical Spill Forces Evacuations in Illinois

Source:, April 24, 2009

Anhydrous Ammonia Leaking Near Du Quoin

Several homes have been evacuated along with a school in Du Quoin, Illinois where a tanker truck carrying a dangerous chemical has overturned.

The wreck happened on Highway 51, just south of Du Quoin, which is about 70 miles from St. Louis.

The truck was carrying two tanks of anhydrous ammonia. At least one tank is reported leaking at this hour. FOX 2 has a crew on the way, and we’ll have more information as it becomes available. …

July 27, 2011

EnergySolutions Tanker Leaked Hazardous Waste on Utah Highway

Source:, April 24, 2009

A half-gallon of hazardous waste leaked from an EnergySolutions tanker in Carbon County last month. But the incident has only now come to light. The company held an extensive media roundtable earlier this week but failed to mention the incident. Spokesman Mark Walker says the company followed standard reporting procedure by notifying the state.

“When our team arrived and did the assessment, there was no contamination found and there was no safety or health compromised to the environment or to the residents of Carbon County,” Walker says. “We followed the procedures that we are required to follow and ensured that there was no contamination.”

The waste was labeled flammable, hazardous waste and toxic upon inhalation. It was a byproduct of Department of Energy radioactive waste processed at EnergySolutions’ Clive, Utah, facility. The radioactive part of the waste was removed and stored, while the hazardous chemical byproduct was transported to a waste facility in Tennessee.…

July 6, 2011

Van Nuys metal plater to pay hazardous waste fine

Source: Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2011
Posted on:

A Van Nuys metal-plating business has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to settle charges that it mishandled hazardous waste.

Inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Los Angeles County Fire Department found that Crown Chrome Plating, a division of TMW Corp., a supplier of transportation services, had multiple hazardous wastes on site without a permit in April 2009, a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. There were also four other waste-handling violations associated with having the materials in the facility.

The hazardous materials included paint wastes, alkaline and acidic corrosive liquids, and sludges containing heavy metals such as chromium and lead that the EPA said were not properly stored or handled. Staff members also were not trained in proper handling of the materials, the EPA said.

“The toxic wastes and sludges at the Crown Chrome facility have the potential to pose a danger to employees, the surrounding community and the environment,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

The county pursued state violations and the EPA pursued federal violations, filing a complaint against the corporation in August 2010. The case was settled Tuesday.

TMW Corp. is complying with federal law and will pay a fine of $100,000, according to the EPA. Representatives from the company did not respond to requests for comment.

Mimi Newton, an EPA associate counsel, said officials warn facilities when they will be inspecting.

“You need to look at federal and state regulations,” Newton said. “There is a lot of them; but when you’re in the metal-plating business, it’s your responsibility to know them.”

Newton attributed many of the violations to mismanagement but said the EPA thought the violations were “big enough failures” to warrant penalizing the company.…

June 22, 2011

Gasoline spill cleanup continues in Wallagrass with no sign of water contamination

Source: Bangor Daily News, June 21, 2011
Posted on:

Nearly three weeks after a tractor-trailer accident caused 5,000 gallons of gasoline to spill out onto the ground, officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection and additional crews continue to oversee the cleanup effort.

Samantha Depoy-Warren, spokesperson for the DEP, said there are no confirmed reports of contaminated wells, but gasoline has been leaching out of the ground in ditches about a quarter-mile away on both sides of the spill.

The spill took place in early June after a tractor-trailer belonging to the John T. Noble trucking company of Caribou overturned on Route 11. Deputy Mike Montpetit of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department said that a medical problem led the driver of the truck, Joe Nichols, to lose control of the vehicle after it drifted into the soft shoulder of the roadway and became unstable.

The truck was hauling 8,000 gallons of gasoline for Daigle Oil Co. of Fort Kent at the time of the crash. An estimated 5,000 gallons spilled and seeped into the ground when a tank was breached.

Depoy-Warren said the DEP is working with private contractors to collect and treat any gasoline-contaminated water and to pull gasoline from the ground. Officials have said the gas could be in the bedrock above the water table or in another area. Eventually, gas in the bedrock will degrade.…

June 13, 2011

Insurance could ease Big Dig costs

Source: The Boston Globe, August 1, 2006

The Big Dig has at least $800 million in insurance coverage that would pay for much of the repair bills, inspection costs, and lawsuits stemming from the deadly Interstate 90 connector tunnel ceiling collapse, according to a memo that circulated yesterday among state lawmakers.

The memo, from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, was given to key legislators worried about the financial fallout from the July 10 death of Milena Del Valle. The ongoing repair effort, scheduled to last months, could grow in scope and cost as inspections reveal more flaws.

To help pay repair and other costs, Governor Mitt Romney had proposed to shift $31 million from the long-planned Rose Kennedy Greenway to the Big Dig repair budget, but lawmakers rejected that plan overwhelmingly yesterday.

Romney and lawmakers also pledged yesterday not to increase tolls to finance any of the fixes.…

April 11, 2011

Liquid fertilizer spill shuts down SLC intersection

Source:, April 6, 2011
By: Rachel Leigh

The intersection of Midway and Glades Cut-Off roads shut down Wednesday morning following a spill of liquid fertilizer officials said.

Liquid fertilizer reportedly was being transported in a tanker and there was a leak in the tank St. Lucie County Fire District spokeswoman Catherine Chaney said. The fertilizer apparently was being transferred from one tanker to another when one of the tankers ruptured, spilling fertilizer in the area.

Fire District crews went to the area about 8:25 a.m. Wednesday.

An amount of 3,800 gallons of fertilizer spilled.

The chemical is ammonia polyphosphate solution and is acidic according to the St. Lucie County Fire Department. They say no one is in any immediate danger.

The intersection of Midway and Glades Cut-Off roads is shut down, and St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputies are diverting traffic away from the area.

Officials say a hazardous materials cleanup company is on scene. It was hired by the transport company of the spilled tanker.…

March 14, 2011

Metro removing asbestos from Farragut North, Union Station

Source:, March 9, 2011
By: Kytja Weir

Asbestos has been found during renovations of Metro’s Farragut North and Union Station stops, The Washington Examiner has learned.

Crews have been quietly working during off-hours to remove the cancer-causing flame retardant since last week, according to the transit agency. The remediation work is expected to last until mid-April. The material was found in the jointwork of ducts in mechanical rooms, under platforms and above suspended ceilings, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said Wednesday.

The agency said air monitoring conducted in the affected areas has shown that airborne fiber concentrations have been well below general industry standards since the work began. …