I am making an effort to get onto this blog every case of recent vintage touching on important coverage issues associated with the Portland Harbor Superfund Site (and there have been a lot of them).  Here’s one from just before I started this blog last year – Siltronic Corp. v. Employers Ins. Co. of Wausau, 921 F. Supp. 2d 1099 (D. Or. 2013).  In this decision, Magistrate Judge Stewart (by consent of the parties) granted summary judgement in the insurer’s favor on the issue of whether cleanup costs paid before there was a final agreement with DEQ/EPA on Siltronic’s obligations exhausted the policy limits, thereby excusing any additional defense obligation.  Judge Stewart characterized Siltronic’s argument as trying to add the term “final” to the exhaustion clause — “exhaustion by payment of judgments or settlements” — and rejected it, looking to Washington and Texas court decisions for guidance on what constitutes such payments in the environmental arena.  Somewhat ironically (given that this argument usually benefits the policyholder in a duty to defend dispute) Judge Stewart gave strong recognition to the somewhat unique structure of environmental “suits” as part of the decision.

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