Va.'s Steadfast Ruling On What Is (Not) An 'Occurrence'

Law360, New York (May 18, 2012, 1:11 PM EDT) -- On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court issued its decision upon rehearing in Steadfast Ins. Co. v. AES Corp. The declaratory judgment case is considered a bellwether with respect to insurance companies’ duty to defend climate-change lawsuits.

The court held that Steadfast, a Zurich Insurance Group subsidiary, had no duty to defend the underlying climate-change-nuisance allegations against AES because "the gravamen" of the underlying allegations was not sufficiently accidental, i.e., there was no covered "occurrence".

As Justice William Mims explained in a separate concurring...
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