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Travelers Indem. Co. v. Summit Corp. of Am.

Court of Appeals of Indiana, Fifth District

August 30, 1999, Filed

No. 49A05-9711-CV-480

Opinion

 [*928]  OPINION

SHARPNACK,  [**2]  Chief Judge

Northbrook Property and Casualty Insurance Company ("Northbrook") appeals the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment with respect to Summit's claim for coverage under its insurance policies with Northbrook. Northbrook challenges this grant of partial summary judgment on five grounds, which we restate as:

 [*929]  1) whether Connecticut law or Indiana law should be applied to the action;

2) whether the term "suit" in the insurance policies includes environmental administrative actions;

3) whether the term "damages" in the insurance policies includes environmental clean up and response costs;

4) whether the "absolute pollution exclusion" provision of the insurance policies unambiguously bars environmental claims; and,

5) whether "personal injury" provisions in the insurance policies provide coverage for these environmental cleanup claims.

We affirm.

FACTS

The relevant facts follow. Northbrook insured Summit from 1988 to 1996 under comprehensive general liability ("CGL") primary and umbrella/excess liability policies. Summit is a Connecticut corporation that is also headquartered in Connecticut. Northbrook is an Illinois corporation [**3]  with its home office in Illinois. Summit's principal business is the manufacturing and finishing of metal parts. Summit has owned and operated facilities throughout the United States. Several sites with which Summit is involved have released chemicals into the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and other environmental agencies have ordered Summit to clean up the contaminants at its various sites. There are seven sites at issue in this case that are located in Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut, and California. 1 The sites are:

"At Summit's former Mooresville, Indiana plant, where various chemicals associated with Summit's metal electroplating operations were discovered in 1989 which are the subject of a soil and groundwater cleanup.

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715 N.E.2d 926 *; 1999 Ind. App. LEXIS 1463 **

THE TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY and NORTHBROOK PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellants-Defendants, vs. SUMMIT CORPORATION OF AMERICA and SUMMIT FINISHING COMPANY, INC., Appellees-Plaintiffs.

Prior History:  [**1]  APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Kenneth H. Johnson, Special Judge. Cause No. 49D02-9509-CP-1378.

Disposition: Affirmed.

CORE TERMS

insured, sites, coverage, personal injury, damages, pollutants, insurance contract, bodily injury, environmental, pollution exclusion, insurance policy, contracting, policies, trial court, negotiation, includes, property damage, Restatement, ambiguous, premises, parties, Manufacturer's, contaminant, cleanup, reads, insuring agreement, provisions, chemicals, insurance applies, argues

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Judgments, Summary Judgment, General Overview, Burdens of Proof, Insurance Law, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Policy Interpretation, Question of Law, Federal & State Interrelationships, Choice of Law, Forum & Place, Preliminary Considerations, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Environmental Law, CERCLA & Superfund, Enforcement, Cleanup Costs, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Coverage, Environmental Claims, Ordinary & Usual Meanings, Ambiguous Terms, Unambiguous Terms, Plain Language, Reasonable Expectations, Reasonable Person, Construction Against Insurers