When a former fortune 500 company sought to have its insurers pay for its historic practice of dumping toxic chemicals as part of ongoing operations, we aggressively fought back on behalf of our clients and obtained an optimal settlement of the matter.
While the plaintiff sought coverage for environmental exposure at over one hundred sites, the Court segregated the sites into Phases for trial. Phase I trial included plaintiff’s Linden, New Jersey dye manufacturing plant, which had been in operation since the turn of the 20th Century. In order to accommodate the massive volume of water that is used in the dye manufacturing process, the plant was built on a marsh, with its buildings on pilings so that effluent could be discharged directly from the buildings onto the marsh below. A system of open trenches wound through the campus of approximately twelve buildings to carry discharged effluent into nearby waterways. A system of pit and fill dumps were also located on plant property.
Plaintiff argued that, under New Jersey law, its insurers were responsible for the costs of remediating the site, as it did not “expect or intend” the resultant harm caused by its actions.
All other insurer defendants settled prior to trial. We recommended that our client reject the plaintiff’s demand as unrealistic. After a week of trial, we were able to obtain a settlement of the matter that was less than one-half of the amount demanded by plaintiff when the trial opened.