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Land O'Lakes v. Employers Insurance Co. of Wausau

Citation: 43 ELR 20208
No. 12-1752, (8th Cir., 08/29/2013)

The Eighth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that insurers had no duty to defend or indemnify an oil refinery in an underlying CERCLA lawsuit filed against it by EPA. EPA sent the refinery a letter in 2001 notifying it that it was a PRP. Because EPA's allegations in the letter arguably fell within the scope of coverage provided under the policies, the letter constitutes a "suit" under the policies and triggered the insurers' duty to defend. Nevertheless, Minnesota's six-year statute of limitations on contract actions barred the refinery's claim that the insurers breached their duty to defend. In addition, the policies contained an "owned-property exclusion" that relieved the insurers of any duty to indemnify the refinery for the costs of an EPA-mandated cleanup. The lower court, therefore, properly granted summary judgment in favor of the insurers.