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Aspen Insurance UK Ltd. v. Dune Energy, Inc.

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20021
Nos. No. 10-30335, (5th Cir., 11/08/2010)

The Fifth Circuit held that a pollution exclusion clause contained in an oil well operator's insurance policy bars coverage for cleanup costs of an oil leak on leased land. The operator argued that the exclusion did not apply because the operator leased only mineral rights and that the surface rights to the subject property were not owned, leased, or otherwise in the operator's possession. But the unambiguous language of the policy excludes coverage for "the soil, minerals, water or any other substance on, in or under such owned, leased, rented or occupied property." Because the damage occurred on the physical property that the operator leased, the exclusion applies.