Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
Insurance Bad Faith Claim Handling Expert Serving Clients Nationwide


In a recent case, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that while a spill of hazardous materials resulted from two distinct regulatory violations, the event was a single occurrence for purposes of insurance. In Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Long, 112 N.E.3d 1165 (Ind. Ct. App. 2018), transfer denied, 124 N.E.3d 61 (Ind. 2019., a shipping company which was shipping a hazardous substance failed to properly label and package a hazardous substance that was being shipped. The hazardous substance spilled and injured a postal worker. The Court found only one occurrence, notwithstanding the two regulatory violations (labeling and packaging). Using a cause analysis for determining the number of occurrences, the Court found that while the insured failed both to properly label and package the hazardous substance did not multiply the number of occurrences. Both regulatory violations resulted in only one accident that resulted from the regulatory violations. Although the insured did two things wrong, both in shipping and packaging the hazardous material, the wrongdoing resulted in only one spill, which was the single proximate, uninterrupted, and continuing cause that resulted in the injury to the postal worker.

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