Commentary and analysis on the
law of insurance coverage


Legalese Contaminates a High Court’s Coverage Opinion

      Lawyers and judges often find it hard to remember that their professional worlds are steeped in jargon and legalese that the average layperson neither uses in everyday life nor understands.  A majority of the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) recently succumbed to the belief that a technical legal definition of a phrase in an insurance policy necessarily equates with the everyday “ordinary” definition of the phrase. […]

When an Absolute Pollution Exclusion is Not So Absolute

Smoke Stacks    In the years following its introduction in the early 1980s, the Absolute Pollution Exclusion was sometimes used in highly creative and questionable ways to preclude coverage for claims that were only remotely connected to pollution.  As the years passed, however, courts across the country began to narrow the scope and application of the exclusion to cases involving “traditional industrial pollution.”  Continuing that trend, the Washington Supreme Court recently precluded a carrier from using the Absolute Pollution Exclusion to deny a claim involving carbon monoxide poisoning. […]