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For our clients, obtaining insurance coverage for environmental losses is a crucial matter, and we treat it as such.  We have represented numerous clients in the litigation of claims under a variety of types of insurance policies, including historical comprehensive general liability (“CGL”) policies and more modern environmental insurance products, at both the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts.  We have also successfully negotiated settlements of insurance claims without resort to litigation.  Frequently, this work compliments our representation on environmental regulatory and remediation issues at the same site.  In this context, we have worked with experts in the environmental and insurance areas, including insurance “archeologists,” underwriters and brokers to reconstruct historical policy terms, adjusters to quantify claims, and a variety of technical experts to date historical contamination, identify and implement appropriate remediation strategies and quantify recoverable costs.

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Our insurance litigation experience includes the following representative matters:

  • Representing an industrial client to recover costs associated with a long-term, multimillion dollar remediation of solvent contamination from a leaking underground storage tank used in industrial processes over a 20-year period. (UTI Corp. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., 896 F. Supp. 362 (D.N.J. 1995) (in a case of first impression, holding that an insurer may be estopped by its conduct from enforcing a policy provision that excluded coverage for all but “sudden and accidental” releases)).
  • In the first reported decision involving an environmental “cost cap” policy, representing a redeveloper through trial and appeal in determining the scope of coverage provided by a cost cap policy purchased in connection with the acquisition and redevelopment of a listed Superfund site. (Frazer Exton Dev., L.P. v. Kemper Envtl., Ltd., 2004 WL 1752580 (S.D.N.Y. 2004), aff'd, 153 F. Appx. 31 (2d Cir. 2005)). We also obtained ancillary relief from the court for our client. (Frazer, 2007 WL 756494 (S.D.N.Y. 2007)).
  • Litigating and ultimately settling an insurance coverage matter on behalf of an industrial client seeking insurance coverage under historical liability policies for a federal Superfund site.
  • Asserting and settling a claim under a property insurance policy on behalf of a client that had suffered property damage caused by anthrax contamination.
  • Representing a school district in asserting and settling its claims under a property insurance policy for environmental damage caused to its school buildings by a hurricane.
  • Litigating and settling an action on behalf of a homeowner seeking to obtain full value of a home for environmental damage caused by soot from heating oil burner “blowback.”
  • Representing a restaurant owner in asserting and settling claims for property damage and cleanup costs associated with a ruptured fuel oil tank, including claims by the local sewer authority.
  • Obtaining complete coverage for an industrial client for a personal injury claim alleging exposure to a hazardous substance taken home in an employee's work clothes.  The coverage was under an environmental insurance policy we had negotiated on the client's behalf and the insurer subsequently changed its policy language to expressly exclude this type of claim in all future policies offered.
  • Obtaining complete coverage for an industrial client, through the litigation and settlement of multiple claims under different policies, where a personal injury claim had been asserted against the client arising from work performed by a contractor during the cleanup of a contaminated site and where cleanup costs were also recovered.
  • Representing a major shopping center developer in southeastern Pennsylvania in litigation seeking insurance coverage related to solid waste materials discovered at the development site. 
  • Representing numerous clients in asserting claims under historical CGL policies for investigation and cleanup costs at contaminated properties, including claims involving multiple sites and multiple policies and insurers.

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