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CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT SAYS INSURANCE COMPANIES MUST DEFEND ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS BEFORE LITIGATING COVERAGE CLAUSES

 Giant Step For Policyholders' Rights To Defense
 SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- In its first ruling on the


issue, the California Supreme Court today ruled that insurance carriers have a broad-based duty to defend environmental claims with equal force as they would any other claims against their policyholders.
 This is a "giant step forward" for policyholders in their long- running battle with insurance carriers over payment of environmental claims, said David Mulliken of Latham & Watkins, who argued the case for Montrose Chemical Corporation of California.
 Mulliken said that the court also took away a principal tactical weapon from the insurance companies by ruling that any litigation over coverage must be stayed pending resolution of the underlying environmental case. "Historically, the insurance carriers have refused to pay environmental claims, forcing policyholders to sue to enforce their coverage. This has been a tremendous financial burden on the policyholder. For every dollar paid out by an insurance company to defend an environmental claim, the policyholder has had to pay a dollar to collect it. The court has now lifted this financial burden from the policyholder."
 This is the fourth victory that Mulliken has won for Montrose in the past 18 months on this issue. He says today's ruling should "leave no room for further debate."
 -0- 11/22/93
 /CONTACT: David Mulliken, 619-238-2853; or Barbara Casey, 310-458-1224/


CO: Latham & Watkins; Montrose Chemical Corporation of California ST: California IN: INS ENV SU:

EH-LS -- LA044 -- 7046 11/22/93 21:24 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1993
Words:247
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