In Greene v. Kenneth R. Will, a CGL insurer recently prevailed in a declaratory judgment action arising from an underlying class action alleging pollution and nuisance claims against the insured, VIM Recycling LLC, an Indiana-based waste-recycling facility. “[T]his case has some whiskers on it,” the Indiana federal district court recounted in its exhaustive decision granting the insurer relief. The court relieved the insurer of indemnifying a $50 million default judgment against the insured, which, the court observed, “proved to be a bad neighbor” and “nuisance in both the legal and colloquial sense.” The court held that the insured failed to provide timely notice of the class action.
“The judgment against the [insured] came about when a group of nearby homeowners decided that they had had enough of VIM’s polluting behavior and brought this class action to recover damages for environmental violations, nuisance and negligence based on the impact of the waste facility on their homes and property,” the court explained. Eventually, the court entered a default judgment against the insured for $50,568,750, plus an award of $273,339.85 in attorney’s fees. Because the insured was “judgment-proof,” the class action plaintiffs “aligned” with the insured “hoping to collect on their monumental judgment” from the insured’s CGL insurer. Within a few weeks’ time, the class action plaintiffs sued the insurer seeking a declaration of coverage for the default judgment against the insured.
Reprinted courtesy of Anthony L. Miscioscia, White and Williams LLP and Timothy A. Carroll, White and Williams LLP
Mr. Miscioscia may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Carroll may be contacted at email@example.com