Appellate court upholds ruling for Admiral in pollution case


Admiral Insurance Co. is not obligated to defend or indemnify a pair of trucking companies under environmental impairment and contractor pollution liability policies it issued for Montana property a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The U.S. District Court in Great Falls, Montana, ruled in May 2021 that Admiral did not have to provide coverage under the policies it issued to Houma, Louisiana-based Dual Trucking Inc. and Dual Trucking of Montana LLC because the defendants “materially misrepresented their knowledge of the pollution conditions” at a Montana site, according to court papers in Admiral Insurance Co. v. Dual Trucking Inc., Dual Trucking of Montana LLC, et. al.

The ruling was upheld by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a three-page ruling.

The lower court correctly concluded that the Dual units had failed to make timely claims under its environment impairment liability policies and that its “material misstatements” in its contractor pollution liability policies rendered them void, the panel said.

Furthermore, the Dual units did not advise Admiral of “the many violation letters received” before policy applications made in 2013, the panel said in affirming the lower court. 

Policyholder attorney Lin Deola, a partner with Morrison, Sherwood, Wilson & Deola PLLP in Helena, Montana, said in a statement, “I think the decision was unfortunate in that it allows insurance companies to create broad multiple barriers to coverage.”

Admiral’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

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