Friday, June 14, 2013

Doe Run Resources Corp. v. Lexington Insurance Co.

Jun 13: U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, Case No: 12-2215. Appealed from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis. The Appeals Court explains that Doe Run Resources Corporation (Doe Run), the largest integrated lead producer in the Western Hemisphere, operates the Sweetwater Mine and Mill near Viburnum, Missouri. Doe Run extracts and crushes ore containing lead and other metals at the mine, processes the crushed ore at a mill near the mine, and either sells the resulting lead concentrate on the world market or transports it by truck to Doe Run's smelter for processing into ingots, bars, and other forms. In 2006, Nadist, LLC, a neighboring landowner, sued Doe Run, alleging environmental property damage resulting from the mine and mill operations (the Nadist Lawsuit).
    More than three years later, Doe Run tendered defense of the Nadist Lawsuit to Lexington Insurance Company (Lexington) under Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies Doe Run purchased between 1998 and 2006. When Lexington denied coverage on numerous grounds, Doe Run commenced this declaratory judgment action seeking to enforce Lexington's contractual duty to defend Doe Run. The district court granted summary judgment dismissing the complaint, concluding that Lexington had no duty to defend because the policies' absolute pollution exclusions unambiguously bar coverage of all claims asserted in the Nadist Lawsuit. The Appeals Court indicates that, "Missouri law governs the issues raised on appeal in this diversity case."
    The Appeals Court rules, "Here, the more specific lead exclusion, if included, would have overlapped the absolute pollution exclusion as it applies to the release of lead "pollutants," but the two exclusions would not have conflicted. The parties' deletion of the lead exclusion left the remainder of the CGL policy in full force and effect, including its absolute pollution exclusion. The judgment of the district court is affirmed."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Remed, #CA8]
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