Mountain States Mutual Casualty Co. v. Christopher Roinestad and Gerald Fitz-Gerald, and Tim Kirkpatrick, d/b/a Hog’s Breath Saloon & Restaurant, 2013CO14 (February 25, 2013)

Hydrogen sulfide gas – breath so bad its uninsurable. The Hog’s Breath Saloon poured enough grease into the La Junta sewer system it created a 5-8 foot obstruction causing a toxic gas buildup that injured 2 workers clearing it up. They sued. The Saloon had an insurance policy with a pollution exclusion. The trial court applied the exclusion and denied coverage. The court of appeals reversed, concerned that calling cooking grease a pollutant could lead to absurd results. The Court disagreed. It held that dumping enough cooking grease to create a huge clog, violating a city ordinance, and causing a toxic gas buildup is a pollutant. The “Reasonable Expectations Doctrine” didn’t apply because reasonable insureds would not be deceived into believing that injuries caused by dumping that much grease into a sewer were insured. The insurance didn’t cover the workers’ injuries.


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Filed under Personal Injury, Torts

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