Apex Oil pressures insurers to pay for pollution claims

Steve Korris Nov. 20, 2008, 12:19am

While other oil companies settle class action claims over refinery pollution in Hartford, Apex Oil persists in seeking coverage from insurers.

On Nov. 5, Apex resisted efforts of Royal Indemnity, National Union Fire and ACE to escape responsibility for pollution claims.

Apex attorney Stephanie Galetti of Edwardsville argued that the insurers failed to abide by instructions that Madison County Associate Judge Ellar Duff issued in August.

Duff ordered the insurers to amend their defenses and counterclaims against Apex, but the amendments didn't satisfy Apex.

Galetti wrote that Royal Indemnity's arguments should fail because the insurer waited too long to present those arguments.

She wrote that "a long delay without explanation in asserting a policy defense is an important factor for the court to consider in determining the reasonableness of the insurer's conduct."

"The defendant cannot now, after all the time which has passed since Royal was initially given notice of the underlying suits, set forth new policy defenses not previously asserted," Galetti wrote.

In 2005, Apex sued all insurers that covered it while it ran the refinery in Hartford.

Trial has been set for May.

Earlier this year, Premcor Refining Group and Shell Oil subsidiary Equilon Enterprises settled class action claims for $16 million.

BP Products North America agreed to settle claims for $19.5 million.

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