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No Coverage In Toxic Torts Case Where Policy Issued After Injury Manifested

January 7, 2009

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The Appellate Division recently decided in <i>Polarome International, Inc. v. Greenwich Insurance Company</i>, that a CGL policy does not cover claims asserted against a manufacturer when the subject policy was issued after the claimant's initial manifestation of injuries. Generally, under the New Jersey “continuous trigger theory,” injury occurs during each phase of environmental contamination, i.e. during exposure, progression of injury after exposure ends and manifestation of disease. In <i>Polarome</i>, the policies in question were issued after exposure ended and after the claimants first manifested their injuries. Thus, the court reasoned that the policies did not provide coverage because the “occurrence” ended before the policy periods commenced. In essence, the court concluded that when exposure has already ended, the “occurrence” itself ends after the claimants’ initial manifestation of disease. Also of interest, the court determined that the insurers could examine extrinsic evidence not included in the complaint in order to determine when the claimants’ injuries initially manifested, but only in instances where the claimants’ underlying complaint was ambiguous as to the exact date of first manifestation.
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