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Goodrich Corp. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20171
Nos. Nos. 23585, 23586, (Ohio Ct. App., 06/30/2008)

An Ohio appellate court held that the sudden and accidental exceptions to pollution exclusion clauses contained in an aerospace manufacturing company's excess commercial insurance policies provide coverage for gradual releases of pollutants if the resulting damage is indivisible from the sudden and accidental releases. Where property damage results from more than one contributing cause, and the insurance policy expressly insures against direct loss and damage by one element but excludes loss or damage by another element, the coverage extends to the loss even though the excluded element is a contributory cause. Thus, absent evidence by the insurers to the contrary, the company's failure to prove that the sudden and accidental releases were the sole or overriding cause of its remediation liability did not defeat its claims under the sudden and accidental exception to the pollution exclusions. Consequently, the insurers were contractually obligated to indemnify the company against the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act claims filed against it by the government.