Environmental remediation of allegedly contaminated industrial sites continues to be a focus of government regulators and a substantial source of potential liability for companies nationwide.
Through our ongoing representation of a leading manufacturer of building products in multiple litigation proceedings, Gilbert has spearheaded our client’s efforts to recover insurance proceeds for defense and remediation costs arising from several environmental sites around the country.
Our client’s insurers denied coverage for the environmental matters at issue on numerous grounds, none of which we or our client view as meritorious. Several of the insurers filed a summary judgment motion in one of the pending litigation matters arguing that their policies are simply inapplicable to our client’s claim, because our client acquired the facility site at issue after their policy periods. We demonstrated to the court that the insurers’ arguments were contrary to the plain language of the policies, because the insurers’ coverage obligations are triggered not by ownership of the site during their policy periods, but rather by property damage during their policy periods for which our client was alleged to be liable. Because the environmental authorities were seeking to hold our client jointly and severally liable for property damage prior to its ownership of the site but during its insurers’ policy periods, the court rejected the insurers’ bid to avoid their coverage obligations.
Gilbert’s victory on this issue paved the way for settlements with several insurers, while preserving our client’s ability to continue to pursue claims against the remaining insurers.