Love Canal’s Legacy – Second Circuit Affirms Pollution Exclusion in Plumber’s Insurance Policy Bars Defense and Indemnification Claims
Love Canal – the infamous neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York where large quantities of chemical waste was dumped, and which became the catalyst for enactment of the federal Superfund program – is still generating legal opinions, nearly 40 years after President Jimmy Carter declared a federal health emergency and Love Canal became the first Superfund site.
The case, The Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Roy’s Plumbing, Inc., Dkt. No. 16-2511-cv (2d Cir., May 31, 2017), is an insurance coverage dispute for claims in an underlying personal injury and property damage litigation filed by three families residing near Love Canal against a local plumbing company, that the homeowners claim negligently performed various sewer line repairs that disturbed sediments from the Love Canal Superfund containment area, resulting in discharges of contamination onto their properties. The homeowners also assert that the plumbing company’s alleged negligent actions included pressure washing local roadways and storm drains, which further dispersed the contamination. The homeowners sought damages, including punitive damages, an injunction for remediation of the contamination, and medical monitoring.