On December 5, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Georgia held that a total pollution exclusion (TPE) in a CGL policy relieved the insurer of any obligation to defend or indemnify a recycling company in a putative class action alleging PFAS contamination of Georgia waterways. See Grange Ins. Co. v. Cycle-Tex Inc., et al., Order, Civ. A. No. 4:21-cv-00147-AT (N.D. Ga. Dec. 5, 2022). The decision adds to a slowly-developing body of case law addressing coverage issues arising out of PFAS-related claims.
In Grange, the insured, Cycle-Tex, Inc., was the operator of a thermoplastics recycling facility in Dalton, Georgia. Cycle-Tex and other defendants – which included chemical suppliers, carpet manufacturers, intermediaries, the City of Dalton and the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority – were named in a putative class action complaint alleging that residents of Dalton had been injured as a result of the defendants’ discharge of PFAS into local waterways. The complaint sought damages for: (1) alleged harm to the residents’ health by virtue of ingesting contaminated water; (2) alleged property damage resulting from the contamination of the public water supply; and (3) the payment of surcharges and heightened water rates as a result of the alleged contamination.