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HNRK Wins Right to Take Key Trigger Issue to Trial for Policyholder Client


As set forth in a March 6, 2017 court decision, HNRK defeated a summary judgment motion by over 20 insurance companies that sought to prevent our client from putting its case to the jury for insurance for alleged “property damage” over 26 years of insurance policies. The insurance claims are for defense and settlement costs in excess of $100 million incurred by our client in a nationwide class action product liability litigation (which was settled without any finding of liability), brought by community water systems alleging that our client’s herbicide product, applied for more than 60 years to neighboring cropland, contaminated their water systems. The insurers argued that our client could not prove that “property damage,” as defined in the policies, had occurred in all of the policy periods. We successfully persuaded the court that our client was entitled to present to the jury the expert scientific testimony of its chemical fate and transport expert for its determination whether the alleged “property damage” more likely than not occurred during the policy periods at issue. The court agreed, finding that there were issues of fact as to whether the herbicide product “could/did reach” the community water systems’ water supplies during the policy periods and whether it “could/did contribute to the detections” reported by the community water systems in connection with the settlement, and denied the insurers’ summary judgment motion.

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