(September 10, 2020, Washington, DC) — Steptoe's federal court win for Waste Management in an insurance coverage dispute stemming from environmental contamination in Hawaii has been upheld by an appellate court.
On September 4, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a published opinion affirming the grant of summary judgment to AIG in a suit brought by Waste Management. The plaintiff had sought to recover $26 million in criminal defense costs it incurred defending against a criminal indictment arising out of its discharge of pollutants from its landfill in Hawaii. The court agreed with AIG that the trial court did not err in refusing to remand the case to state court, holding that an AIG affiliate had been improperly joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction. Turning to the merits, the court agreed that there was no coverage for Waste's defense costs because they did not arise out of a "claim" as that term is defined in the AIG policy.
In 2019, Steptoe scored two victories for AIG in this matter in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Steptoe partner John O'Connor argued the summary judgment motion in the trial court and the appeal before the Fifth Circuit. He was assisted by Roger Warin and Brett Grindrod on the briefs filed in the trial court and court of appeals.
Read more on the appellate victory in Law360 (subscription required).
In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.