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State Supreme Court extends liabilities for environmental damages

TOM JOHNSON / NJ SPOTLIGHT – The state Supreme Court yesterday ruled that insurers can be held liable for cleaning up environmental pollution at a site even though the policy was subsequently assigned without approval to a successor.

In the unanimous decision, the court upheld an appellate court ruling that found Travelers Casualty & Surety Company and other insurers were responsible for claims involving hazardous discharges at the former Givaudan Corp. fragrance manufacturing facility in Clifton.

The case involves a long history of corporate mergers and restructurings that the court ruled had no effect on the insurers’ obligations to pay under the policies, originally written for the Givaudan Corp.

The defendants had prevailed in trial court, which ruled that the assignment of the policy to Givaudan Fragrances was invalid because it added a second party to the policy, increasing the insurers’ liability. The appellate court reversed that decision …

NJ Environment News

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