Perkins & Wiley Environmental Coverage Litigation
Ball Janik LLP represented Perkins & Wiley LLC in an insurance coverage dispute arising from environmental contamination. Plaintiff Perkins & Wiley or its predecessors operated a dry cleaning business at the site from approximately 1950 to 1983. Throughout its operation, Perkins & Wiley purchased comprehensive general liability insurance from defendant Oregon Mutual Insurance Company (“OMI”). Investigations at and around the site revealed the presence of perchloroethylene (“perc” or “PCE”) and other solvents used in the dry cleaning process in soil and groundwater at and around the Property. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) identified Perkins & Wiley as a potentially responsible party for the contamination at and around the property, and ordered Perkins & Wiley to further investigate the source and extent of the contamination. In December 2008, the DEQ issued its Consent Order, detailing the remedy that Perkins & Wiley was legally obligated to implement to address soil and groundwater contamination at and around the Property. The remedy included treatment of contaminated groundwater through air sparging and treatment of contaminated soils through soil vapor extraction.
Perkins & Wiley demanded that OMI indemnify Perkins & Wiley for the costs of the remedy selected by the DEQ, as detailed in the Consent Order. OMI denied any obligation to indemnify Perkins & Wiley for any costs associated with the DEQ-mandated remediation of contamination in soil and groundwater at and around the property. Ball Janik sued OMI on behalf of the insured, Perkins & Wiley, seeking damages for breach of the insurance polices and a judicial declaration of coverage.
The case was successfully settled at mediation in October 2010.