933 F.2d 1162 (3rd Cir. 1991), 89-3814, New Castle County v. Hartford Acc. and Indem. Co.

Docket Nº:89-3814, 90-3012 and 90-3030.
Citation:933 F.2d 1162
Party Name:NEW CASTLE COUNTY, v. HARTFORD ACCIDENT AND INDEMNITY COMPANY, a corporation of the State of Connecticut, Home Insurance Company, a corporation of the State of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Insurance Company, a corporation of the State of New Hampshire, Continental Casualty Company, a corporation of the State of Illinois, United States Fire Insuranc
Case Date:April 30, 1991
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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Page 1162

933 F.2d 1162 (3rd Cir. 1991)

NEW CASTLE COUNTY,

v.

HARTFORD ACCIDENT AND INDEMNITY COMPANY, a corporation of

the State of Connecticut, Home Insurance Company, a

corporation of the State of New Hampshire, New Hampshire

Insurance Company, a corporation of the State of New

Hampshire, Continental Casualty Company, a corporation of

the State of Illinois, United States Fire Insurance Company,

a corporation of the State of New York, Insurance Company of

North America, a corporation of the State of Pennsylvania,

Continental Insurance Company, a corporation of the State of

New Hampshire, United States Liability Insurance Company, a

corporation of the State of Pennsylvania, National Union

Fire Insurance Company, a corporation of the Commonwealth of

Pennsylvania, Twin City Fire Insurance Company, a

corporation of the State of Minnesota, Aetna Casualty and

Surety Company, a corporation of the State of Connecticut,

and Zurich Insurance Company, a Swiss corporation

Continental Casualty Company ("CNA'), Appellant.

Nos. 89-3814, 90-3012 and 90-3030.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

April 30, 1991

Argued Aug. 28, 1990.

As Amended May 29, 1991.

Page 1163

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1164

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1165

Arthur Makadon (argued), David L. Cohen, Geoffrey A. Kahn, Walter M. Einhorn, Jr., Gilpin W. Bartels, Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, Philadelphia, Pa., John G. Mulford, Michael J. Goodrick, Theisen, Lank, Mulford and Goldberg, P.A., Wilmington, Del., for CNA, appellant.

Joseph D. Tydings (argued), Jerold Oshinsky, Catherine Serafin Sponseller, Anderson, Kill, Olick & Oshinsky, Washington, D.C., George H. Seitz, III, Prickett, Jones, Elliott, Kristol and Schnee, Wilmington, Del., for New Castle County, appellee.

Clifford B. Hendler (argued), John I. Stewart, Jr., Scott L. Winkelman, William D. Wallace, Crowell & Moring, Dennis M. Flannery, A. Stephen Hut, Jr., Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Washington, D.C., for Insurance Co. of North America, appellee.

William J. Cattie, III, Heckler & Cattie, Wilmington, Del., Edward B. Deutsch, Laurence M. McHeffey, Loren L. Pierce, McElroy, Deutsch & Mulvaney, Morristown, N.J., for U.S. Fire Ins. Co., appellee.

Gary W. Aber, Heiman, Aber & Goldlust, Wilmington, Del., James E. Rocap, III, Thomas B. Carr, D. Bradley Clements, Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, Washington, D.C., for Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., appellees.

Dennis D. Ferri, Michael A. Pedicone, Dennis D. Ferri, P.A., Wilmington, Del., Philip A. Ryan, German, Gallagher & Murtagh, Philadelphia, Pa., for U.S. Liability Ins. Co., appellee.

Norman M. Monhait, Morris, Rosenthal, Monhait & Gross, P.A., Wilmington, Del., Roger E. Warin, Virginia L. White-Mahaffey, Anita G. Raby, Janet W. Steverson-Wright, Steptoe & Johnson, Washington, D.C., for The Home Ins. Co., appellee.

Alfred J. Kuffler, Michael B. McCauley, Stephen M. Calder, Kevin G. O'Donovan, David R. Kunz, Palmer, Biezup & Henderson, Philadelphia, Pa., for John Richard Ludbrooke Youell, amicus curiae.

Charles M. Oberly, III, Atty. Gen., State of Del., Robert S. Kuehl, Stuart B. Drowos, Deputy Attys. Gen., Dept. of Justice, Wilmington, Del., for State of Del., amicus curiae.

Ernest D. Preate, Jr., Atty. Gen., Com. of Pa., Harrisburg, Pa., for Commonwealth of Pa., amicus curiae.

Bert W. Rein, Thomas W. Brunner, Sharon Rau Dissinger, Wiley, Rein & Fielding, Washington, D.C., for Insurance Environmental Litigation Ass'n, amicus curiae.

William H. Allen, William F. Greaney, Martin Wald, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C., for E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., ICI Americas, Inc., Intern. Business Machines Corp., Olin Corp., The American Petroleum Institute, and The Chemical Mfrs. Ass'n, amici curiae.

Before BECKER and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges, and RE, Chief Judge, Court of International Trade. [*]

OPINION OF THE COURT ---------- TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE I. Introduction 1167 II. Facts and Procedural History 1169 A. Pre"Operation Events 1170 B. The County's Operation of the Tybouts Corner Landfill 1171 C. Post"Operation Events 1171 D. The Three Underlying Lawsuits Against the County 1173 E. The Insurance Coverage Litigation 1173 F. The Significant Post"Trial Events 1174 III. Appellate Jurisdiction 1176 A. Appeal Number 89"3814 1176 1. The Rule 59(e) Versus Rule 60(b) Issue 1176 2. The Jurisdictional Effect of CNA's Cross"Claims 1177 B. Appeal Number 90"3030 1179 IV. The Insurance Coverage Issues 1180 A. Preliminary Matters 1180 1. CNA's Contracts of Insurance 1180 2. The Burden of Proof in Insurance Cases 1181 3. The Interpretation of Insurance Policies Under 1182 Delaware Law 4. The Issues on Appeal 1183 5. Our Scope of Review 1183 B. The "As Damages" 1184 Clause 1. Background 1184 2. CNA's Contentions on Appeal 1185 3. The County's Response 1187 4. Legal, Technical Meaning or Plain, Ordinary 1188 Meaning? C. The "Occurrence" Clause 1191 D. The 1192 "Pollution Exclusion" Clause 1. The Meaning of the Word "Sudden" 1193 a. The significance of multiple dictionary 1193 definitions b. The rule that all words in a policy should 1194 be given effect c. The existence of judicial disagreement 1195 d. The drafting and marketing history of the 1196 pollution exclusion clause e. Conclusion 1198 2. The Damage/Discharge Distinction 1199 a. The case law 1200 b. The history of the pollution exclusion: 1201 does it shed any light on the import of the damage/discharge distinction? c. The economic rationale underlying the 1202 damage/discharge distinction d. Evidence suggesting that the discharge of 1202 leachate from Tybouts Corner was not unexpected e. Conclusion 1203 V. CNA's Cross"Claims 1203 A. The Timeliness of CNA's Cross"Claims Under the Parties' 1203 February 1986 Stipulation B. The "Settlement Bar" Issue 1205 VI. Conclusion 1207 BECKER, Circuit Judge.

Page 1167

I. INTRODUCTION

These consolidated appeals present important questions about the meaning of the "pollution exclusion" and "as damages" clauses found in post-1970 comprehensive general liability ("CGL") insurance policies. These issues frequently recur in cases involving insurance coverage of environmental damage caused by the discharge of pollutants--a genre of litigation that has become a staple of many federal courts' dockets.

The standard CGL policy provides coverage for "all sums which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage ... caused by an occurrence." 1 An "occurrence" is an "accident" that, during the policy period, results in damage "neither expected nor intended from the standpoint of the insured." The standard CGL policy also contains an exclusionary clause, known as the "pollution exclusion," which disclaims coverage "for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the discharge, dispersal, release or escape" of pollutants. This exclusion, however, is not absolute; it contains an exception providing for coverage where the bodily injury or property damage results from a "discharge" of pollutants that is "sudden and accidental."

These appeals arise from a declaratory judgment action brought in 1985 by New Castle County, Delaware (the "County") in the district court for the District of Delaware against twelve insurance companies that had issued CGL policies to the County. 2 The County sought a declaration of the carriers' duties under their respective policies to defend and indemnify it in three underlying...

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