Thursday, March 10, 2005

Garimendi v. Golden Eagle Ins. Co. (Cal. Ct. App. - March 9, 2005)

Make a list of all the "pollutants" you can possibly imagine. Keep going until you've listed 1000 of them. Finished? I'll bet dollars to donuts that "silica" isn't on the list. I'll also bet that the average person wouldn't think that when someone's sandblasting something, the stuff that spews out of the sandblaster -- or off the thing being sandblasted -- is really a "pollutant." Maybe it's "sand." Maybe it's "dust." But not what we'd typically call a "pollutant."

Justice Pollack nonetheless holds in this case that every reasonable insured would, as a matter of law, consider this stuff to be a "pollutant." A court's supposed to interpret insurance policies to protect reasonable coverage expectations. I can't fathom that someone who's in the sandblasting business would think -- even for a second -- that what they're doing is spewing out "pollutants" and that any injury resulting therefrom is accordingly excluded from coverage by an "Absoute Pollution Exclusion" contained in their insurance policy.

This is a holding with which I gotta disagree.