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Preisler v. Kuettel's Septic Service, LLC

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20018
Nos. 2012AP2521, (Wis. Ct. App., 01/14/2014)

A Wisconsin appellate court held that insurance companies have no duty to defend a septic pumping service in an underlying case concerning well water contamination. Dairy farmers filed suit against the service for alleged well water contamination. The pumping service sought coverage from its insured, arguing that the pollution exclusions in its insurance policies did not apply because the dairy farmers consented and intended to have septage sprayed on their land as fertilizer. But the policies' definitions of "pollutant" do not speak in terms of intent. Rather, the definitions look to whether damage has been caused by an irritant or contaminant. And even if the court were to interpret a "pollutant" as including only undesired substances, it is apparent the farmers did not consent to have septage applied in such quantities that it contaminated their well.