Steve Goldberg on “Sorting Out a Liability Mess”: An Analysis of State of California v. Allstate Insurance Company
My former colleague, Steve Goldberg, recently wrote a column for the Los Angeles Daily Journal regarding the recent State of California v. Allstate Insurance Company insurance coverage decision relating to the Stringfellow Acid Pits, including a discussion of the pollution exclusion.
There is a nice excerpt of the article on Victoria Pynchon’s terrific Settle It Now Negotiation Blog, which begins:
In State of California v. Allstate Insurance Company, 2009 DJDAR 3425 (March 9, 2009), the California Supreme Court reversed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment for a handful of insurance carriers who refused to defend the state against and indemnify it for liabilities arising from an infamous toxic waste site – the Stringfellow Acid Pits. Neither this opinion, nor another in the same matter handed down by the 4th Appellate District in January, finally resolves the state’s claims. Instead, both courts sent two groups of insurance carriers back to the trial court for further proceedings. In both, the insurers lost significant battles but will no doubt continue the fight on yet another day.
The take away from this article for risk managers and in house counsel is that coverage may be available for liabilities even after coverage has been denied. Insurance coverage always is important to policyholders, but in an economic downturn, insurance coverage is essential.
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