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Court of Appeals of New York
January 6, 1993, Argued ; February 11, 1993, Decided
[*646] [**508] [***968] At issue before us is an insurer's duty to defend actions for personal injuries sustained through exposure to asbestos products manufactured by the insured's predecessor corporation. We resolve the questions raised in favor of the insured, concluding that in the circumstances presented, the standard form comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy requires defense of the actions.
Plaintiffs, Continental Casualty Company and Transportation Insurance Company (collectively CNA), issued four CGL policies covering the period January 1, 1971 through January [****11] 1, 1980 to defendant Rapid American Corporation (Rapid) and its predecessor Glen Alden Corporation, both successor corporations to Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation. The policies require CNA to pay on behalf of the insured all damages for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or employer's malpractice liability "caused by or arising out of an occurrence happening during the policy period." "Occurrence" is defined as "an accident or a happening or event or a continued or repeated exposure to conditions which unexpectedly and unintentionally results during the policy period in Bodily Injury, or Property Damage or Personal Injury, or Employer's Malpractice Liability." "Bodily Injury" is defined as "bodily injury, mental injury, mental anguish, shock, sickness, disease or disability, including death resulting therefrom sustained by any person."
The policies also contain "pollution exclusions" providing that they do not apply:
"To personal injury or property damage arising out of the discharge, dispersal, release or escape of [*647] smoke, vapors, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, toxic chemicals, liquids or gases, waste materials or other irritants, contaminants or [****12] pollutants into or upon land, the atmosphere or any water course or body of water; but this exclusion does not apply if such discharge, dispersal, release or escape is sudden and accidental."
Finally, the policies impose upon CNA the duty to defend any suit against the insured seeking damages payable under the policies "even if any of the allegations of the suit are groundless, false or fraudulent."
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80 N.Y.2d 640 *; 609 N.E.2d 506 **; 593 N.Y.S.2d 966 ***; 1993 N.Y. LEXIS 81 ****
Continental Casualty Co. et al., Appellants, v. Rapid-American Corporation et al., Respondents.
Prior History: [****1] Appeal, by permission of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the First Judicial Department, from an order of that court, entered February 25, 1992, which (1) reversed, on the law, an order and judgment (one paper) of the Supreme Court (Carol E. Huff, J.), entered in New York County, denying a motion by defendant Rapid-American Corporation (Rapid) for partial summary judgment and granting a cross motion by plaintiffs for summary judgment to the extent of declaring that plaintiffs are not required to defend and/or indemnify Rapid in the underlying asbestos-related personal injury actions filed against it, (2) granted Rapid's motion for partial summary judgment, (3) denied plaintiffs' cross motion, and (4) remanded the matter for settlement of a judgment declaring that plaintiffs must defend Rapid in the underlying actions. The following question was certified by the Appellate Division: "Was the decision and order of this Court, which reversed the order and judgment (one paper) of the Supreme Court, properly made?"
Continental Cas. Co. v Rapid-Am. Corp., 177 AD2d 61, affirmed.
Disposition: Order affirmed, etc.
asbestos, insured, coverage, policies, occurrence, ambiguous, pollution exclusion, pollutant, exposure, duty to defend, bodily injury, manifestation, disease, trigger, suits, practical construction, atmosphere, complaints, summary judgment, policy period, Manufacturing, declaring, personal injury, asbestos-related, contamination, Dictionary, products, costs
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