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Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Roy's Plumbing, Inc.

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20076
Nos. No. 16-2511, (2d Cir., 05/31/2017)

The Second Circuit, in a summary order, affirmed a lower court decision that an insurance company has no duty to defend a plumbing company in an underlying state suit related to chemical contamination at Love Canal near Niagara Falls, New York. The allegations in the state action fall within the insurance policy's pollution exclusion. The clause gives "pollutant" a broad definition, covering both substances "generally recognized in industry or government to be harmful or toxic to persons, property or the environment” and “any solid [or] liquid . . . irritant or contaminant, including . . . waste." Here, the underlying suit claims personal injury and property damages caused by toxic chemicals. In addition, regardless of whether the complained-of chemicals include sewage, sewage is "generally recognized in industry or government to be harmful or toxic to persons." Nor does the complaint's mention of "pressure" mean that the suit seeks damages for harm caused by pressure rather than chemical toxicity. Pressure was merely noted as the mechanism allowing chemicals to escape from the sewer and is not alleged as an independent cause of damage.