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Continental Ins. Co. v. Shapiro Sales Co.

Citation: 35 ELR 20195
No. No. 4:04CV0254 TCM, (E.D. Mo., 09/26/2005)

A court holds that insurance companies have no duty to defend or indemnify a scrap metal company for underlying environmental contamination claims stemming from the illegal disposal of salt cake. One insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify the company because the evidence clearly demonstrated that the policy had been canceled. And absolute pollution exclusion provisions barred a second insurer from having to defend or indemnify the company. The allegations in the underlying lawsuits are clearly of bodily injuries and property damage resulting from pollution. The definition of "pollutant" in the applicable policies includes "alkalis," which is a soluble salt or mixture thereof. And under Missouri law, the scope of the pollution exclusion is governed by the expectations of a reasonable policyholder. Here, a reasonable policyholder would expect that the seepage of alkalis from huge piles of salt cake, sufficient to kill nearby vegetation, was pollution.