Montana Federal District Court Finds for Insurer in Pollution Coverage Dispute

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This case illustrates both the risks of failing to honestly represent known facts in completing applications for coverage and failing to give timely notice under claims-made policies.

October 24, 2021
Melanie A. McDonald - Saxe Doernberger & Vita

Applying Louisiana law, a recent federal court decision exemplifies why policyholders should thoroughly read claims-made policies to understand when notice is due to insurers and truthfully complete policy applications. In Admiral Insurance Company v. Dual Trucking, Inc.,1 the Court determined the insurer, Admiral Insurance Company (“AIC”), owed no duty to defend or indemnify Dual Trucking and Transport, LLC (“DTT”), Dual Trucking of Montana, LLC (“DTM”), and Dual Trucking, Inc. (“DTI”) (collectively, the “Dual Entities”) under two Environmental Impairment Liability Policies (“EIL Policies”) and four Contractor Pollution Liability Policies (“CPL Policies”). The Court justified its decision because the Dual Entities: 1) did not give notice during the 2012-2013 EIL Policy period; 2) had discovered or knew of, but did not disclose, potential pollution conditions before the inception of the 2013-2014 EIL Policy and before the expiration of the extended reporting period of the 2012-2013 EIL Policy; 3) failed to provide AIC with notice during the extended reporting period of the 2013-2014 EIL Policy of claims for which the Dual Entities were seeking coverage; and 4) materially misrepresented known facts on the CPL Policy applications.

I. Factual Background.
The Dual Entities were Louisiana-based companies that provided oilfield equipment rental services. In 2011, the Dual Entities leased land in Montana under three leases, collectively referred to as “the Bainville site.” Shortly afterward, the Dual Entities applied for, and AIC issued, an EIL Policy and two CPL Policies with a policy period of October 1, 2012, to October 1, 2013. AIC renewed all three policies for the October 1, 2013, to October 1, 2014, policy period.

Ms. McDonald may be contacted at MMcDonald@sdvlaw.com



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