Casella Waste Systems, Inc. and Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Inc. v. Zurich North America


Blank Rome’s Insurance Recovery team recently secured a significant victory in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, defeating summary judgment and allowing clients Casella Waste Systems, Inc. and Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Inc. to take their multimillion dollar coverage claim to trial.

In a dispute over substantial environmental cleanup costs, Steadfast Insurance Company alleged that its pollution liability policy should not cover the plaintiffs’ remediation costs based on the application of the policy’s “known pollution event” exclusion, which bars coverage for instances of pollution that were known to the insured prior to the policy’s inception date. Despite Steadfast’s assertion that the plaintiffs were aware of contamination as early as 2006, the plaintiffs successfully presented evidence that they were not aware of such contamination until 2015, and argued that the 2015 discovery of TCE and 1,1-DCE at levels substantially above the regulated standard constituted a “new pollution event” under the policy for which coverage is owed. The court found multiple triable issues of fact, thereby prohibiting Steadfast from prevailing based on the exclusion.

Blank Rome advised with Lisa M. Campisi (Picture), Kevin R. Doherty, Amy J. Spencer and Victoria Ortega.

Involved fees earner: Lisa Campisi – Blank Rome LLP; Kevin Doherty – Blank Rome LLP; Amy Spencer – Blank Rome LLP; Victoria Ortega – Blank Rome LLP;

Law Firms: Blank Rome LLP;

Clients: Casella Waste Systems, Inc.; Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Inc.;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti