Judge Finds 4,000-Barrel Oil Spill Not An Instance Of 'Short-Term' Pollution

SHREVEPORT, La. - An oil spill from a pipeline in Utah that resulted in the release of 4,000 barrels of crude oil into the environment is not a "short-term" spill that acts as a loophole to a pollution exclusion provision of a policy obtained by a pipeline operation company, a federal judge...

Asbestos Coverage Disputes Between Flintkote, Insurers Go To Binding Arbitration

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on June 20 granted relief from the automatic stay in The Flintkote Co.'s Chapter 11 case so that Flintkote and certain London market insurance companies can participate in binding arbitration to resolve disputes over insurance coverage for asbestos...

Pennsylvania Superior Court Adopts Insurance Duty Rule, Vacates $80 Million Award

PITTSBURGH - In an opinion of first impression released July 10, a divided Pennsylvania Superior Court panel adopted a Florida standard for resolving a duty to indemnify dispute arising from the $80 million settlement of a putative class action alleging exposure to fugitive radioactive material released...

Bankruptcy Judge Nixes Garlock Appeal Of Pittsburgh Corning's Plan Confirmation

PITTSBURGH - An appeal of confirmation of Pittsburgh Corning Corp.'s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization by fellow asbestos bankruptcy debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC was rejected July 23 by a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge, who found the appeal to be a "nullity" pending a...

Delaware Court Hears Arguments Over Appointment Of Receiver For Dissolved Company

WILMINGTON, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court on Aug. 21 heard oral arguments on whether a judge erred by not appointing a receiver to handle the undistributed insurance proceeds of a dissolved corporation based on asbestos plaintiffs' inability to prevail in actions against it (Anderson v. Krafft...

9th Circuit Seeks Briefing From Plant, Insurers On Contribution Rights

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 23 directed Chapter 11 debtor Plant Insulation Co. and insurance companies appealing Plant's confirmed plan of reorganization to provide additional briefing on the insurers' argument that the plan and its injunctions affect their...

Panel Certifies Questions To Texas High Court Regarding Additional Insured Status

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 withdrew its opinion regarding the additional insured status of BP Exploration & Production Inc. and its related entities under policies issued to Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. and certified questions to the Texas Supreme...

9th Circuit Affirms Ruling That EPA Letters Triggered Duty To Defend

PORTLAND, Ore. - Two letters sent by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to a company concerning contamination at a Superfund site in Oregon constituted "suits" that triggered St. Paul Fire and Marine Co.'s duty to defend a policy holder, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel...

Health Plans Seek Reimbursement From Pfizer For Asbestos Medical Care

NEW YORK - Thirty-two insurers and health care plans on Sept. 5 sought relief in New York federal bankruptcy court from an injunction in the Chapter 11 case of Quigley Co. Inc. so they can sue Quigley parent Pfizer Inc. for reimbursement of millions of dollars in benefits for asbestos victims, saying...

Judge Dismisses As Moot Insurers' Appeal Of Settlement In Plant Bankruptcy

SAN FRANCISCO - An appeal by nonsettling insurance companies of a $70 million settlement between Chapter 11 debtor Plant Insulation Co. and two other insurers is moot because the settlement is authorized by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and was consummated in good faith and the nonsettling insurers never...

Skinner's Case Closed; Asbestos Claims Can Proceed Against Insurers

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 11 dismissed the 12-year-old converted Chapter 7 case of Skinner Engine Co. Inc., allowing asbestos personal injury claims to proceed against the company's lone remaining asset - insurance policies - in the tort system (In re: Skinner...

Special Master Denies Pre-Deposition Meeting After Plaintiffs Withdraw Approval

NEW YORK - A defendant in a couple's asbestos action may not confer with a diagnosing expert in Milan, Italy, before his deposition because the plaintiffs withdrew their authorization, the special master overseeing discovery in New York held Sept. 26 (John W. Adler v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190392-2012...

Federal Judge Compels Arbitration In Disputes Over Asbestos Insurance Coverage

WILMINGTON, Del. - Two insurance companies involved in long-running disputes with Chapter 11 debtor The Flintkote Co. over coverage for asbestos claims are bound by an "expansive" 28-year-old agreement to participate in arbitration to resolve the disputes, a Delaware federal judge held Sept...

9th Circuit Vacates Asbestos Bankruptcy Reorganization; Says Trust Isn't In Control

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 28 vacated the bankruptcy reorganization plan for a former asbestos insulator, finding that the plan failed to satisfy the requirements of Section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code dealing with control by asbestos trusts (In Re: Plant Insulation...

Excess Insurers Must Make Simultaneous Payments, Wisconsin Panel Determines

MILWAUKEE - Excess insurers must simultaneously pay their indemnity obligations on behalf of an insured named in hundreds of thousands of underlying asbestos suits because a 2007 judgment pertaining to the coverage obligations and the insurance policies at issue clearly support paying the claims simultaneously...

California Court Finds Condominium Owner Suffered No Covered Loss

LOS ANGELES - After finding that a condominium owner suffered no covered loss in relation to the demolition of an allegedly leaking shower that caused mold, a California appeals court on Oct. 30 affirmed a decision to deny him coverage under his insurance policy (Paul Sigelman v. State Farm General Insurance...

New York Panel Majority Affirms No Coverage Owed For Underlying Lead Suit

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - An insurer has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying personal injury suit arising out of lead exposure because the insurer submitted sufficient evidence that it properly notified its insured of the addition of a lead exclusion to the policy, a New York appellate court...

Bankruptcy Judge Denies Reconsideration Of Pittsburgh Corning Plan Confirmation

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 12 mostly denied a motion by two insurance companies to reconsider confirmation of Pittsburgh Corning Corp.'s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, granting the request only to make clear what affiliates of the debtor are protected from asbestos...

California Federal Judge Dismisses Insurer's Coverage Action Against Flintkote

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 21 dismissed an insurer's declaratory judgment action filed against Chapter 11 debtor The Flintkote Co. to determine insurance coverage rights and obligations because the same issues were recently decided in Delaware federal court (Aviva PLC v. The...

Delaware Court: Dissolved Company's Insurance Proceeds Warrant Appointing Receiver

WILMINGTON, Del. - Undistributed insurance proceeds are the property of a company dissolved more than 10 years ago, and a receiver must be appointed to defend against asbestos actions, the Delaware Supreme Court held Nov. 26 (Anderson v. Krafft-Murphy Co., No. 85,2013, Del. Sup.).

11th Circuit Affirms Document Discovery Ruling For Ecuador

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 18 affirmed a decision requiring an expert to produce certain documents for use in foreign proceedings, finding that the materials did not contain any core opinion work product of Chevron Corp.'s attorneys (Republic of Ecuador, et al. v. Chevron...

Md. Federal Judge Interprets Insurance Coverage In Favor Of Asbestos Defendant

BALTIMORE - While two insurance companies are correct that Maryland follows the horizontal exhaustion rule for determining primary and excess policy coverage, the rule must be applied based on the theory of pro-rata allocation, as a former insulation company seeking coverage for asbestos personal injury...

Dismissal Of Benzene Soil Contamination Claims Affirmed By New Jersey Court

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Jan. 9 affirmed dismissal of benzene soil contamination claims with prejudice against all defendants except an insurer whose policy did not contain a fuel-system exclusion (David Seltzer v. Kristofer Chiesa, et al., No. A-2393...

Judge: Plaintiff May Be Allowed To Introduce Internal Toxicity Study

DETROIT - The widow of a Ford Motor Co. mechanic may be allowed to introduce an internal memorandum from Safety-Kleen Systems Inc. purporting to show that the company in 1991 rejected a recommendation that it process its products to remove or reduce levels of benzene, a Michigan federal judge ruled Jan...

Wisconsin Appeals Panel Affirms Pollution Exclusion Applies To Septage Application

WAUSAU, Wis. - A unanimous District III Wisconsin Court of Appeals panel affirmed judgment on Jan. 14 that pollution exclusion clauses in commercial general liability insurance policies relieve the insurers of duties to defend and indemnify the operators of a septic service company for contaminating...