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Douglas Ridge Rifle Club v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co.

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20021
Nos. No. 08-29, (D. Or., 01/08/2010)

A district court held that an insurance company has a duty to defend a shooting range operator in an underlying CWA, RCRA, and nuisance lawsuit concerning the discharge of lead shot into the environment. The duty to defend arises when there is a possibility that a claim may be covered by the insurance policy. Here, it is possible that the operator will be ordered to take action to clean up or remediate the existing contamination, and cleanup and remediation costs qualify as property damage under the terms of the policy. In addition, although the policy excludes coverage for damage to property owned, occupied by, or rented to the operator, the complaint adequately alleges damage to third-party property in the form of water, wetlands, and groundwater. And despite the intentional discharge of lead shot at the shooting range, the complaint could support a claim for damages to third-party property based on the accidental, or unintentional, conduct of the operator. And the nuisance claims do not fall outside the policy period.