Tag Archives: Portland Harbor

Oregon Court: “Sudden & Accidental” Exception to Pollution Exclusion Judged from Policyholder’s Perspective

One of the most critical issues in litigation over coverage for long-tail environmental liabilities is the application of the “qualified pollution exclusion” and in particular the carve-out for pollution that is “sudden and accidental.” A new decision from an Oregon federal court tackled this question: Is “sudden and accidental” to be evaluated from the perspective … Continue Reading

I’m Exhausted! Oregon Court Provides Insights on OECAA Exhaustion, Independent Counsel Provisions

A new decision in the long running Siltronic insurance coverage litigation at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site gives new guidance on determining whether a cost should be categorized as a “defense cost” or an “indemnity payment.” The decision also fleshed out some parameters for the independent counsel provision of Oregon’s environmental insurance claims law (“OECAA”). Classification … Continue Reading

Absolute Pollution Exclusions Are Not Absolute

Insurance is a crucial source of funding for most environmental cleanups. For the past 30 years, comprehensive general liability insurance policies have uniformly included an “absolute pollution exclusion” in some form or another. The earliest such exclusions appeared in the 1950’s, but they became ubiquitous boilerplate in the mid-1980s. As a result, most applicable environmental … Continue Reading

Oregon Trial Court Adopts “All-Sums” In Environmental Coverage Case

A great win last month for the Zidell real-estate group (owner of much land in the South Waterfront area of Portland, including a historic ship-repair yard) in the longest-running environmental contamination case in Oregon history: a Multnomah County judge held that Zidell’s carriers must pay for environmental remediation based on the “all sums” approach.  (Click here for … Continue Reading

Or. Fed Court Rejects “Hail Mary” Insurer Argument Against Attorney Fees

The dispute between Schnitzer Steel and its carriers over defense at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site has been addressed many times in this blog, because it has raised many novel and fascinating (to me, anyway!) issues.  Here is the latest: on November 12, 2014 Judge Mosman ruled on Schnitzer’s motion for attorney fees after Schnitzer … Continue Reading

Another Strong Ruling on Prejudgment Interest From Oregon’s Federal Courts

Oregon’s federal court has struck another blow against the insurance industry’s attempts to limit prejudgment interest in duty-to-defend disputes.  Somewhat ironically, this ruling comes a case that has turned into a carrier v. carrier fight over contribution. In the latest ruling in the long-running Northwest Pipe v. RLI coverage litigation, the court held that a non-defending carrier … Continue Reading

Oregon Federal Court Confirms Availability of Prejudgment Interest on Disputed Defense Costs

In an as-yet-unpublished decision in the long-running Ash Grove v. Liberty Mutual case the court recently granted the policyholder’s request for prejudgment interest on defense costs recovered at trial.  Ash Grove (Case No. 09-239-HZ) involves reimbursement of legal fees and costs incurred in defense of claims associated with the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.  After pretrial rulings … Continue Reading

Oregon Federal Court Rules on Characterization of Environmental Cleanup Costs

Last week Magistrate Judge Stewart issued an order on the thorny issue of how to characterize some of the costs associated with a complex environmental cleanup.  Are they indemnity costs that deplete the insured’s insurance policies, or are they defense costs, which do not?  The decision resolves yet more issues in the Siltronic litigation between Siltronic, a … Continue Reading

Former Insurance Defense Counsel’s Firm Permitted to Represent Insured Against Carrier

The Portland Harbor Superfund Site continues to generate new coverage-related law on issues beyond environmental contamination.  In a recent ruling from Oregon’s federal court, Judge Acosta permitted Stoel Rives to substitute in as coverage counsel for steel company Evraz, Inc. in litigation between Evraz and many of its former carriers over coverage at the Superfund … Continue Reading