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Hazen Paper Co. v. U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co.

Citation: 19 ELR 20364
No. No. 86-1679, (Mass. Super. Ct., 01/10/1989)

The court holds that comprehensive general liability insurance covers liability for response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Materials Release, Prevention, and Response Act. The court first holds that the insurer's duty to defend the insured corporation is triggered when environmental regulators have written to the insured corporation alleging its liability, even though they have not yet filed suit against the corporation. The court next holds that under Massachusetts law cleanup costs are "damages" within the meaning of a comprehensive general liability insurance policy. Moreover, because the hazardous waste seepage was unintentional, it was an "accident" and an "occurrence" within the meaning of the insurance policy. Finally, as a matter of public policy, finding that insurance coverage is provided will aid the federal and state governments' programs to clean up hazardous waste.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Paul Ware, Nancer Ballard
Goodwin, Procter & Hoar
Exchange Place, Boston MA 02109-2881
(617) 570-1000

Counsel for Defendant
David Goodrich
Donovan & O'Connor
P.O. Box 230, Adams MA 01220
(413) 743-3200