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Jury rules for gas company in dispute with Chubb unit


A jury in state court in New York Tuesday ruled in favor of Brooklyn Union Gas Co. in two-decades-old environmental remediation litigation against a Chubb Ltd. unit.

The final amount to be awarded the utility as a result of the verdict in Century Indemnity Co. v. Brooklyn Union Gas Co. et al. is yet to be determined by the trial court, the Supreme Court of New York.

The underlying dispute in the litigation concerns whether, and to what extent, Chubb unit Century, as Brooklyn Union’s excess insurer, must cover the “vast costs” the utility is incurring through its contributions to the environmental remediation of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn and the sites of other former manufactured-gas plants, according to court documents in the case.

The jury held that Brooklyn Union had proved “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the property damage incurred at various sites was accidental, according to the verdict sheets in the case.

Brooklyn Union attorney Gretchen Hoff Varner, a partner with Covington & Burling LLP in San Francisco, said in a statement, “We are pleased that after decades of avoiding its insurance obligations, the jury has required Century to pay its fair share of the cleanup costs at the Gowanus Canal Superfund site."

A Chubb spokesman said in a statement, “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on legal matters.”