A jury has determined that nine insurance companies should cover the costs assessed to the former Appleton Papers Inc. for cleanup of the industrial chemicals PCBs in the Lower Fox River, which is in Wisconsin. After a five-week trial, the jury determined that the insurance policies in effect from 1979-85 covered property damage caused by the discharge of the industrial chemical pollutants polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Columbia Casualty Co. of Chicago sued in 2005, claiming its policy did not cover PCB damage and that the paper company didn’t give the insurance company timely notice it was responsible for cleanup costs.
Eight other insurance companies joined the lawsuit. The insurance companies could be required to pay from $550 million to $730 million if the jury’s decision stands on appeal and if it is determined that Appleton Papers’ responsibility is that much. Six other paper mills have been ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state’s Department of Natural Resources to present a design plan for dredging and capping PCB-contaminated sediment from the river.
Source: Insurance Journal
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