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Joslyn Mfg. Co. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co.

ELR Citation: 25 ELR 20150
Nos. No. 93-5563, 30 F.3d 630/(5th Cir., 09/02/1994)

The court holds that under Louisiana law, an insurance company has no duty to indemnify its insured for cleanup costs incurred in remediating soil and groundwater contamination resulting from its operation of a wood treatment plant. The court first holds that the state's compliance order triggered the insured's contractual obligation to notify the insurance company immediately of potential claims. The insured's nine-month delay in notifying the insurance company of the order materially breached the immediate notification provision, an express condition precedent to policy coverage. The court rejects the insured's argument that the delay did not prejudice the insurance company. Under Louisiana law, courts need not consider prejudice in policies expressly making notice a condition precedent to coverage. The court refuses to apply equitable considerations to insured's claims because the insured is a sophisticated business entity.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Stephen D. Davis, Jay A. Canel
Canel, Davis & King
10 S. La Salle St., Ste. 3400, Chicago IL 60603
(312) 372-4142

Counsel for Defendant
Jack O. Brittain Sr.
Brittain & Sylvester
113 E. 5th St., P.O. Box 2059, Natchitoches LA 71457
(318) 352-9588

Before REYNALDO G. GARZA, SMITH, and PARKER, Circuit Judges.