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Olin Corp. v. Insurance Co. of N. Am.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

December 24, 1997, Decided ; December 31, 1997, Filed

84 Civ. 1968 (TPG)


 [*842] OPINION

THE COURT: These are my findings and conclusions with respect [**6]  to one of the issues left open in my July 3, 1997 opinion, 1 that is, whether Olin must be deemed to be a self-insurer during the years 1971 to 1985.

I am going to start by repeating something I just said in my discussion with Mr. Fournier, but let me go back to the jury verdict before I do that.

We must start with the framework we used at the trial, and the jury verdict at the end of that trial. The issue before the jury was whether there was accidental injury to property, or to put it in slightly different language, arising from the differently worded policy, whether there was property damage which was neither expected nor intended. Just as a shorthand, I am going to speak now of accidental injury because the real meaning of the coverage was not changed despite changes in language, at least the meaning for present purposes was not changed.

The jury found accidental injury to soil only for the years [**7]  1956 and 1957, and for purposes of my discussion here, I am going to ignore that injury to soil. I am going to deal with the finding of the injury about groundwater because I think it will illustrate the issues which I believe are of a general nature. Thus, although I am going to discuss what the jury found with respect to the site involved in the recent trial, I am going to refer to these matters as illustrations of what I believe are general considerations.

The jury found that there was accidental injury to groundwater commencing in 1958 and going through 1971. It was conceded that, commencing in 1971, a pollution exclusion appeared applicable to certain policies, and as a result of the jury's findings it is now established that the pollution exclusion was effective in all policies beginning in 1971.

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986 F. Supp. 841 *; 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20833 **

OLIN CORPORATION, Plaintiff, - against - INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA, et al, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Affirmed by Olin Corp. v. Insurance Co. of N. Am., 221 F.3d 307, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 20902 (2d Cir. N.Y., Aug. 17, 2000)

Prior History: Olin Corp. v. Insurance Co. of N. Am., 972 F. Supp. 189, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9530 (S.D.N.Y., July 3, 1997)


coverage, insured, pollution exclusion, occurring, insurance company, commencing, proration, pollution, policies, gradual, marketplace, unavailable, contracts

Insurance Law, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Obligations of Parties, General Overview, Coverage, Business Insurance, Occurrences, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Policy Interpretation, Priority of Coverage, Damages, Exclusions