Connecticut Supreme Court Takes Key Pro-Policyholder Views on Asbestos Coverage

Connecticut Law Tribune (CLT)

PUBLISHED ON: December 4, 2019

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In early October the Connecticut Supreme Court decided RT Vanderbilt v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity, definitively ruling on three important issues regarding insurance coverage for asbestos liabilities. Two of those rulings—the adoption of the “continuous trigger” doctrine and recognition of the “unavailability rule”—aligned Connecticut with the majority of jurisdictions that have considered these issues. The third ruling concerned pollution exclusions. The court held that none of the pollution exclusion clauses in the triggered policies applied so as to bar coverage outside the context of “traditional” environmental pollution—that is, the exclusion did not apply to losses stemming from smaller-scale, indoor release of toxic substances stemming from ordinary use.

The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court and adopted much of the Appellate Court’s 100-plus-page decision, noting that the “thorough and well-reasoned opinion more than sufficiently addresses these certified issues, and there is no need for us to repeat the discussion contained therein.” The Appellate Court’s robust discussion of these questions, endorsed by the Supreme Court, offers a rich resource for practitioners confronting the more nuanced, unsettled questions in this constantly evolving area of law…..