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Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Treesdale, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

May 5, 2005, Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) ; August 15, 2005, Opinion Filed

No: 04-4172

Opinion

 [*332]  McKEE, Circuit Judge.

Treesdale, Inc., and Pittsburgh Metals Purifying Company ("PMP") 1 appeal the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in this declaratory judgment action to determine insurance coverage. The district court adopted a Report and Recommendation that recommended granting summary judgment to Liberty Mutual based upon the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that asbestos-related personal injury claims asserted against Treesdale and PMP are one occurrence under the terms of the disputed insurance policies and that a Non-Cumulation provision in those policies precludes stacking coverage. For the reasons [**2]  that follow, we will affirm.

I. FACTS

From approximately 1966 to 1975, Treesdale manufactured and sold a product known as "Soffelex," which contained asbestos. Several thousand asbestos exposure claims have been filed against Treesdale to date. The asbestos claims are typically filed by steel workers who worked in the open hearth part of steel mills and others who claim to have had contact with the open hearth. Treesdale contends that all of those asbestos claims share a common feature - repeated exposure to asbestos and at least one exposure to Treesdale's asbestos-containing product.

Liberty Mutual issued primary liability policies to Treesdale from May 1, 1975 to February 1, 1985. Each of the primary policies Liberty Mutual issued to Treesdale provided policy limits of $ 500,000 per occurrence, and in the aggregate, for bodily injury. [**3]  Initially, Liberty Mutual defended and indemnified Treesdale with regard to the asbestos claims pursuant to the primary insurance policies. There is no dispute that each of Liberty Mutual's primary policies has been exhausted by judgments and/or settlements, and that coverage is no longer available under those primary policies.

However, Liberty Mutual also issued Umbrella Excess Liability ("UEL") coverage to Treesdale during the same period. 2 Each of the UEL policies for the period May 1, 1975 to May 1, 1983 provided policy limits of $ 2,000,000 per occurrence and in the aggregate. The UEL policies for the period May 1, 1983 to February 1, 1985 provided policy limits of $ 5,000,000 per occurrence and in the aggregate.

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418 F.3d 330 *; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 17149 **

LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. TREESDALE, INC.; PITTSBURGH METALS PURIFYING COMPANY, Appellants.

Subsequent History: Subsequent appeal at Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Treesdale, Inc., 419 F.3d 216, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 17151 (3d Cir. Pa., 2005)

Prior History:  [**1]  Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. (Civ. No. 02-cv-02179). District Judge: Hon. Arthur J. Schwab.

Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Treesdale, Inc., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31260 (W.D. Pa., Sept. 27, 2004)

CORE TERMS

occurrence, policies, insured, asbestos, coverage, Non-Cumulation, district court, single occurrence, replacement, argues, exposure, contends, injuries, claimant's, personal injury, indemnify, trigger, limitation of liability, cause of loss, Products, renewal, reasonable expectation, policy limit, unambiguous, limits, insurance policy, property damage, per occurrence, asbestos-containing, exhausted

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Insurance Law, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Premiums, General Overview, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Policy Interpretation, Labor & Employment Law, Disparate Impact, Defenses, Torts, Elements, Causation, Business Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Occurrences, Employment Practices, Selection Procedures, Neutral Factors, Contracts Law, Ambiguities & Mistakes, Ambiguous Terms, Construction Against Insurers, Question of Law, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Erie Doctrine, Environmental Law, Hazardous Wastes & Toxic Substances, Asbestos, Real Property Law, Environmental Regulations, Indoor Air & Water Quality, Stacking Provisions, Antistacking Clauses, Antistacking Provision Validity, Types of Insurance, Motor Vehicle Insurance, Reasonable Expectations