Admiral Insurance Co. is not required to defend or indemnify a couple of trucking companies responsible for environmental damage and contractors’ pollution liability as it issued for properties in Montana, a federal appellate court ruled Thursday.
The U.S. District Court in Great Falls, Montana, ruled in May 2021 that the Admiral did not need to provide coverage under the policies it issued to Houma, Louisiana-based Dual Trucking Inc. and Dual Trucking of Montana LLC, as the defendants “significantly misrepresented their knowledge of the pollution conditions “at a site in Montana, according to court papers in Admiral Insurance Co. v. Dual Trucking Inc., Dual Trucking of Montana LLC, et. al.
The decision was upheld by a unanimous panel of three judges at the U.S. 9th District Court in San Francisco in a three-sided ruling.
The lower court correctly concluded that the Dual units had failed to make timely claims under their environmental damage policies and that its “significant inaccuracies”; in their contractor pollution liability policies invalidated them, the panel said.
In addition, the dual units did not inform the Admiral about “the many infringement letters received” before policy applications were made in 2013, the panel said when confirming the lower court.
Policyholder’s attorney Lin Deola, a partner with Morrison, Sherwood, Wilson & Deola PLLP in Helena, Montana, said in a statement, “I think the decision was unfortunate because it allows insurance companies to create broad multiple barriers to coverage.”
Admiral’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.