Chemical company sues insurer over asbestos defense costs

By The Madison County Record | Apr 23, 2014


A chemical company has filed suit against the insurance company it claims failed to protect it from damages it sustained in an asbestos-related lawsuit.

Columbian Chemicals Company filed suit April 3 in the Madison County Circuit Court against National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff had an insurance policy through the defendant. The policy, which was supposed to cover any bodily injuries incurred by employees, was in effect when Jeffrey Gulley was employed at Columbian’s iron oxide manufacturing facility in St. Louis.

Jeffrey Gulley Sr. later filed an asbestos lawsuit against Columbian, alleging his wife, Burlis Gulley, had contracted mesothelioma from secondary exposure to asbestos. The secondary exposure occurred when Burlis Gulley’s son, Jeffrey Gulley, brought asbestos dust home on his clothing, the suit states. Jeffrey Gulley originally came into contact with the asbestos while working at the St. Louis plant.

Because Columbian had an insurance policy through National Union Fire Insurance Company at the time Burlis Gulley was exposed to the asbestos, Columbian claims the lawsuit filed against it should have been covered under the policy.

Although Columbian has demanded National Union defend Columbian in the Gulley suit, it has ignored Columbian's repeated requests, the complaint says. As a result, Columbian says it has been forced to incur costs related to defending the lawsuit.

The plaintiff is asking the court to require National Union pay the costs associated with defending the lawsuit, plus $60,000 and other relief the court deems just.

It is being represented by James R. Keller and Brian M. Wacker of Herzog Crebs in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-526.

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