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INSURANCE COMPANIES MUST PROVIDE BROAD COVERAGE FOR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM HAZARDOUS WASTE, STATE APPELLATE COURT RULES

 INSURANCE COMPANIES MUST PROVIDE BROAD COVERAGE FOR DAMAGES
 RESULTING FROM HAZARDOUS WASTE, STATE APPELLATE COURT RULES
 SAN DIEGO, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Casey & Sayre on behalf of Latham & Watkins:
 In a landmark decision, the State Court of Appeal here has ruled that insurance companies must provide their policyholders with coverage for damages occurring over the entire course of environmental contamination from hazardous waste disposal. The court rejected the companies' argument that they could limit their coverage for ongoing injuries to a single policy period.
 The case, Montrose Chemical Corporation v. Admiral Insurance Company, is the first opinion in California announcing the "trigger of coverage" for third-party environmental insurance claims. According to Latham & Watkins lawyer David Mulliken, who has represented Montrose for many years, this case is a major victory for policyholders facing lawsuits for environmental contamination.
 "This decision will release literally billions of dollars from insurance carrier coffers and allow a needed response to environmental claims," Mulliken explained. "A ruling in this area has been long- awaited by insurance companies and corporate policyholders alike, and it will no doubt fuel the emerging trend toward broad insurance responsibility in other states."
 In the 37-page published opinion, the appellate court held that injuries and damages which are "continuous and progressive throughout successive policy periods" are covered by all policies in effect throughout the course of the damage. The court also ruled that simply because Montrose knew that it might be sued for environmental contamination, it did not forfeit insurance coverage.
 According to the opinion, Montrose manufactured DDT for use in pesticides from 1947 until 1982. It has been covered since 1960 by comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance policies from seven different carriers, ending with Admiral Insurance Co. Admiral issued four separate CGL policies to Montrose covering the period from October 1982 to March 1986.
 Five actions, including two arising out of the Stringfellow Acid Pits located in Riverside, Calif., are pending against Montrose, all alleging property damage arising from the contamination of sites where Montrose is alleged to have disposed of its hazardous waste. One of those actions, brought by the residents of Glen Avon, Calif., alleges that they suffered bodily injury because of their proximity to the Stringfellow site.
 The case before the Court of Appeal arose out of Montrose's efforts to enforce its insurance coverage for its potential liability in these lawsuits. The Court of Appeal's opinion reverses the lower court's order letting Admiral Insurance Co. avoid coverage. Admiral had argued that there was no coverage triggered during its policy period because the environmental damage was manifest prior to Admiral's coverage period and Montrose knew it faced a lawsuit from the Stringfellow site.
 Rejecting both arguments, the court held that in cases of continuing or progressive injury the applicable trigger of coverage will be the "continuous trigger," which will provide coverage under every insurance policy in effect during the entire course of contamination and damage. Montrose's knowledge that it faced a risk of liability did not void this coverage.
 Latham & Watkins is one of the nation's largest law firms with 600 lawyers and offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Calif., Washington, D.C., San Diego, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and London. It provides a full range of legal services domestically and internationally, and is extensively involved in the litigation and environmental insurance coverage matters in cases pending nationwide.
 -0- 3/4/92
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: To obtain a copy of the opinion, contact David L. Mulliken in the San Diego office of Latham & Watkins, 619-236-1234./
 /CONTACT: David Mulliken of Latham & Watkins, 619-236-1234; or Sydney Knott of Casey & Sayre, 310-457-3676, for Latham & Watkins/ CO: Montrose Chemical Corp.; Admiral Insurance Co.; Latham & Watkins ST: California IN: INS CHM SU:


JL-KJ -- LA006 -- 4852 03/04/92 10:01 EST
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Date:Mar 4, 1992
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