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Olin Corp. v. Insurance Co. of N. Am.

Citation: 33 ELR 20052
No. No. 84 Civ.1968(TPG), (S.D.N.Y., 08/28/2002)

The court holds that insurers are not obligated to defend or indemnify a manufacturing company for the costs of environmental remediation efforts undertaken at three of its manufacturing and waste disposal sites or for the costs of defending underlying environmental claims. The court first holds that under the insurance policies, the company had knowledge of an "occurrence" in 1982 that gave rise to an obligation to notify its insurers. The company learned of a contamination problem subjecting it to potential liability for remediation at one of the sites in 1982. The company, however, did not notify the insurers until 1984. The court next holds that the company's obligation to give notice regarding a second site arose no later than 1982 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed to place the site on the Superfund national priorities list. Yet the company did not notify the insurers until 1984, which was not "as soon as practicable" within the meaning of the insurance policies. The court finally holds that as for the third site, a claim was filed in 1984 that, under the policies, gave rise to the obligation to give notice immediately. But the company did not provide notice until 1988. In addition, the company has no sufficient explanation for the delays. Thus, the insurers have no duty to defend or indemnify the manufacturer.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Stephen A. Dvorkin
Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky
1177 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10036
(212) 835-1400

Counsel for Defendants
Paul R. Koepff
O'Melveny & Myers
153 E. 53d St., New York NY 10022
(212) 326-2000