RLI Insurance Co., which provided umbrella coverage to the city of Visalia, California, has no obligation to replace or defend the municipality in a pollution case based on a political exclusion, says a federal appeal court confirming a lower court
Peoria, Illinois -based RLI, had provided coverage to the city for the period March 1978-79, according to the complaint in Thursday's 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal in San Francisco in RLI Insurance Co. v. City of Visalia, et al.
In a two-sided verdict that confirmed the US District Court in Fresno, California's verdict, a three judge's appeal panel held the RLI no obligation to defend the city in underlying trials.
RLI's policy excludes coverage "for the cost of removing, suspending or cleaning up substances" including toxic chemicals and does not include an exception to being excluded for "sudden and accidental" emissions.
"Since the Complaint in the underlying action sought only recovery for the costs of removing, repealing or cleaning up pollution or pollution, the RLI has no obligation to defend or liberate Visalia in that action," the panel said in confirmation of the court's judgment. [1