Pollution Exclusion in CGL Policies

Navigating Scope of the Exclusion in Light of Differing Court Interpretations

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide insurance counsel with a review of the scope of varying forms of the pollution exclusion clause in CGL policies, the differing court interpretations of the exclusion, and best arguments for insurers and policyholders for either avoiding or maximizing coverage.


The pollution exclusion in CGL policies is one of the more heavily litigated issues in environmental coverage claims. Courts wrestle with the distinctions between traditional and nontraditional pollution, with little unanimity among courts on whether the total pollution exclusion applies to nontraditional pollution.

The pollution exclusion has also been front and center in Chinese drywall litigation. Currently, there is no clear legal guidance on the application of the pollution exclusion to Chinese drywall liabilities under CGL policies.

Very recent case law on the pollution exclusion covers the spectrum. Judge Posner for the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a pro-insurer ruling (based on Illinois law), while the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the absolute pollution exclusion is inherently ambiguous and therefore unenforceable.

Listen as our authoritative panel of practitioners discusses the scope of the pollution exclusion in CGL policies, the most recent case law developments, and perspectives for both insurers and policyholders arguing the applicability of the exclusion.



I. Pollution exclusion provision language
II. Traditional pollution v. nontraditional pollution
III. Recent case law developments
IV. Chinese drywall litigation update


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How do courts make the distinction between traditional and nontraditional sources of pollution?
  • How has the pollution exclusion been applied in the context of vapor intrusion claims?
  • What are the most recent developments in applying the pollution exclusion to damages caused by Chinese drywall?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Carl A. Salisbury
Carl A. Salisbury

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

Mr. Salisbury has more than 25 years of experience in the litigation and trial of complex commercial disputes and...  |  Read More

Louis A. Chiafullo
Louis A. Chiafullo

McCarter & English

Mr. Chiafullo's practice involves complex civil and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on insurance coverage...  |  Read More

Jonathan T. Viner
Jonathan T. Viner

Bates Carey Nicolaides

He is a partner who practices in the areas of insurance litigation advising and defending insurers on a wide range of...  |  Read More

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