Neb. court upholds decision against insurance companies in cleanup case

Chris Rizo Feb. 5, 2010, 1:35pm

LINCOLN, Neb. (Legal Newsline)-The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday upheld a decision ordering two insurance companies to pay about $550,000 of the cost of cleaning up industrial contamination.

In its ruling, the state high court said The Continental Insurance Co. and Northern Insurance Co. of New York should pay for cleanup in Hastings, Neb.

The insurance companies covered Dutton-Lainson Co. when that company contributed to groundwater contamination in the city.

In the early 1980's, testing at a number of municipal wells in Hastings revealed the presence of trichloroethylene in municipal wells.

In 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notified Dutton that it was a potentially responsible party for trichloroethylene contamination at the city's North and South Landfills.

For the cleanup, Continental has been ordered to pay more than $475,000, while Northern has been ordered to pay nearly $75,000.

Dutton-Lainson Co., a manufacturing company, was required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay millions of dollars to clean up three Nebraska Superfund sites.

In 2002, Dutton sued United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company, Continental, and Northern, seeking indemnification for sums expended to defend against the EPA's investigation and to con¬duct the environmental cleanup.

The company sued the insurers for reimbursement, seeking $4.9 million.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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