Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Win for the Insurance Industry: No Duty to Defend against Climate Change Nuisance Claim

Remember the Kivalina v. Exxon Mobil Corp. case? Well, the Ninth Circuit hasn’t issued a decision, but the Virginia Supreme Court handed down an important ruling that relates to the case last Friday. The Virginia court ruled that the insurance company of a Kivalina defendant didn’t have a duty to defend against Kivalina’s claims because there was no "occurrence" or "accident" that triggered a duty to defend. The case is AES Corp. v Steadfast Insurance Co. (decision here).

The Kivalina case itself had been stayed pending the US Supreme Court’s decision in Connecticut v AEP this past July. Presumably, there has been additional briefing regarding that case’s impact, and the Ninth Circuit will take the case up again soon (and likely send plaintiffs to state court!).

-Lesley McAllister

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/2011/09/a-win-for-the-insurance-industry-no-duty-to-defend-against-climate-change-nuisance-claim-in-virginia.html

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