Appeals court affirms insurers’ win against manufacturerPosted On: Sep. 15, 2021 1:57 PM CST
A federal appeals court affirmed a lower court ruling in favor of a group of insurers Tuesday in litigation filed by a Pittsburgh manufacturing company, stating the lawsuit had been filed too late.
Allegheny Ludlum LLC, which is now known as Allegheny Technologies Inc., along with other manufacturers, faced hundreds of bodily injury claims arising out of alleged exposures to toxic chemicals from 1964 through 2002 at a facility in Alabama that had purchased certain of its products, according to the complaint in Allegheny Ludlum LLC v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. et al.
The company filed suit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh in 2017 seeking insurance coverage for its defense and indemnity costs in the matter.
The district court ruled in the insurers’ favor, and was affirmed by a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel in a brief opinion.
The ruling said the panel agreed with the lower court that the four-year statute of limitations had expired on its declaratory judgment and bad faith claims against units of Liberty Mutual Group Inc. and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. It said the district court found the insurers had denied coverage in 2010, seven years before Allegheny Ludlum filed suit.
It also upheld dismissal of litigation against United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. “The District Court relied upon the absence of a covered ‘occurrence’ under the policy,” the ruling said.
“We need not determine if there was a covered occurrence because the USF&G pollution provision clearly excludes coverage of bodily injury that ‘would not have occurred but for exposure to pollutants,’’’ it said.
“It is clear that the plaintiffs’ claims arose from their exposure to hexavalent chromium in welding fumes and that the District Court correctly identified those fumes as a pollutant within the scope of the pollution exclusion,” it said, in affirming the lower court.
Attorneys in the case had no comment or did not respond to requests for comment.