Extensive Experience in Complex Cases
KMCL has abundant experience in complex environmental insurance recovery and placement counseling.
Prosecuting Environmental Claims
KMCL prosecutes environmental claims under modern and historical insurance policies.
We have secured coverage for injury and property damage claims related to mass toxic tort lawsuits, government enforcement actions, and both private party and government-led cleanup efforts. These claims have involved a wide range of industries and contaminants, including pesticide plants, manufactured gas plants, dry cleaners, and petroleum manufacturing facilities.
We have litigated coverage claims in state and federal courts in numerous jurisdictions as well as mediations, arbitrations, and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings. We have also helped clients settle countless insurance claims without resorting to litigation at all.
We have handled a variety of bodily injury coverage matters involving asbestos, lead-based paint, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, fire proofing chemicals, and other alleged toxins.
We have also secured coverage for such diverse claims as property damage for a transformer failure at a major chemical plant and coverage for disability resulting from ruptured breast implants.
Placing Environmental Insurance Policies
KMCL has helped clients place dozens of environmental insurance policies, including liability coverage for pre-existing conditions, cost-cap coverage for cleanup projects, lender liability coverage, contractor liability policies, post-remediation performance warranties, regulatory reopener coverage, and remediation project wrap-up programs.
During these placements, we often draft specific policy terms, advise clients, and negotiate coverage parameters.
- Negotiating full coverage in place (both defense and indemnity) for policyholder identified as a responsible party for a chlorinated solvent plume producing surface water impacts in a stream more than 1,000 feet from its facility.
- Negotiating insurance coverage for a significant portion of defense and indemnity costs of a class action of over one million individuals in a major southern municipal area asserting personal injury from exposure to drinking water contaminated with phenol from the discharge of contaminated process water to a major waterway. Supervising litigation of a claim against remaining non-settling insurance carriers.
- Negotiating insurance coverage for indemnity and defense costs relating to the defense of a claim in a major Pacific Northwest municipality and a class action from roughly 2,000 residents in relation to the release of chlorine gas from a pulp and paper mill.
- Negotiating insurance coverage for the defense and indemnity costs regarding formaldehyde litigation from claims relating to manufactured housing (mobile homes).
- Negotiating pre-litigation settlement to provide in-place coverage for a manufactured gas plant site from a historical general liability carrier.
- Negotiating with an insurance carrier for contribution of over 50% of the costs of defense and indemnity in a settlement with residents of historically minority community who alleged personal injury and property damage from emissions from adjacent chemical plant.
- Negotiating with insurance carriers for coverage of 100% of the defense and indemnification costs related to claims from 35 individuals from exposure to chlorine gas released from a chemical facility.
- Negotiating with insurance carriers for a substantial contribution to the settlement and defense costs related to the defense of numerous dioxin litigation matters including a large class action alleging property damage to riparian owners for dioxin sediment contamination from discharge to a river.
- Representing a company attempting to sell a portfolio of property that included a former rock quarry that had been converted to a pre-regulation era municipal landfill. Rather than having the buyer acquire the property directly, it acquired stock in an existing corporation, the sole asset of which was the environmentally challenged property. This acquisition was, in turn, made through a newly formed limited liability company infused with cash equal to the low-end of expected cleanup costs. The firm then negotiated an environmental insurance policy to protect the members of that limited liability company (i.e., the actual buyers of the portfolio of property) against “blow-through” liability in the event a court were to disregard the intervening limited liability company’s corporate form, which allowed the deal to go forward.
- Representing a real estate investment company buying one of the first sites ever removed from Georgia’s hazardous site inventory. Aiding in securing environmental insurance to protect against the risk that the state agency might change its mind. Securing coverage under the environmental insurance policy for the costs of defending against both the state claim and a toxic tort claim brought by an adjoining landowner when the state changed its mind and re-listed the property.
- Representing a shopping center owner in successfully suing an insurance carrier for costs involved in PCE releases from dry cleaners which allegedly contaminated a major southern city’s drinking water supply wells. Negotiating for the carrier to defend the claim and to cover the investigation and other costs.
- Representing the owner of a portfolio containing petroleum service stations in litigation against environmental carriers involving gasoline impacts at multiple sites. Securing a multimillion-dollar settlement through mediation following the filing of cross-motions for summary judgment.
- Serving as lead counsel for individuals and trusts benefitting the children and grandchildren of a deceased founder of a major pesticide plant facing claims for tens of millions of dollars in cleanup costs. Filing suit against the insurance companies covering the plant in the 1960s and 1970s. Winning partial summary judgment, securing multimillion-dollar settlement, and obtaining a release of liability from USEPA.
- Serving as lead counsel for policyholder sued by general liability carrier seeking declaratory judgment of no coverage for environmental contamination. Moving for bifurcation of defense and indemnity phases and then winning summary judgment confirming the carrier’s duty to defend. The carrier was then placed into receivership, but the firm successfully negotiated a cash-out settlement from the state insurer insolvency pool.
- Serving as lead counsel in environmental coverage case that resulted in a 2012 Alabama Supreme Court decision holding that EPA PRP Letters trigger the insurers’ duty to defend.
- Serving as one of two primary outside counsel for multi-defendant global environmental insurance coverage litigation for a major manufacturer against 18 primary and excess carriers. Taking and defending numerous lay and technical depositions. Arguing major motion in opposition to summary judgment by carriers. Involved in negotiations with numerous carriers and the successful settlement of claims on behalf of the client resulting in multimillion-dollar award to client.
Clients have praised KMCL attorneys for their “attention to detail and ability to absorb complex information and develop strategy.”