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Employers Ins. of Wausau v. McGraw Edison Co.

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20086
Nos. 16-1264, (6th Cir., 06/30/2017)

The Sixth Circuit held that a battery company did not waive insurance coverage in connection with a battery storage facility in New Jersey because of a settlement with its insurance company decades prior. The battery company acquired another company and discovered that several of its factories may have contaminated the environment. The battery company asked its insurers to cover it for any liabilities for the cleanup. In response, the insurance company sued the battery company. In 1989, the parties agreed that the insurance company would be released from liability arising from environmental harm at five facilities, including the "Battery Products Plant facility." Twenty years later, EPA determined that facility may have contributed to pollution in the Passaic River. The insurance company argued that it was released from liability per the settlement agreement it reached with the battery company. The battery company argued that the settlement agreement only included the main battery production facility and not the storage facility. The court found that the settlement agreement identified the facilities using the same names that the battery company used to identify its properties. As such, the battery company's interpretation of the settlement agreement is controlling. The case was remanded for further proceedings.