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Harter Corp. v. Home Indem. Co.

Citation: 19 ELR 21338
No. No. K88-154CA, 713 F. Supp. 231/29 ERC 2038/(W.D. Mich., 04/12/1989)

The court holds that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) designation of an insured as a potentially responsible party (PRP) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act does not trigger the insurer's duty to defend. The insured's policy requires the insurer to defend any suit against the insured seeking damages. The court holds that the plain meaning of the policy to defend any suit cannot be construed to include the EPA's threat to hold the insured liable for cleanup costs. The term "suit" plainly means some type of court proceeding. The court holds that while a court action for injunctive relief could be construed as a suit seeking damages, some court process is required and EPA's designation of the insured as a PRP does not involve either injunctive relief or any court process.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Myra L. Willis, Antoinette Beuche
Howard & Howard
400 The Kalamazoo Bldg., 107 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo MI 49007
(616) 382-1483

Counsel for Defendant
Arthur J. LeVasseur
Fisher, Franklin, Ford, Simon & Hogg
1700 Guardian Bldg., Detroit MI 48226
(313) 962-5210

Ignatius J. Melito
Siff, Rosen & Parker
233 Broadway, New York NY 10279
(212) 238-8400