December 29, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court opinion involving choice-of-law issues in an environmental remediation case
In NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, PA, ET AL, v. STANDARD FUSEE CORPORATION, (No. 49S04-1006-CV-318, December 29, 2010), a unanimous Indiana Supreme Court found in favor of several insurance companies in a choice of law issue involving an environmental coverage matter. Specifically, the Court held:
Insurance companies question whether they have a duty to defend an insured in environmental remediation proceedings under policies alleged to cover risks in Indiana and California. Predicate to answering that question is determining whether the law governing the policiesâ€Ÿ interpretation is "site-specific" (whereby Indiana law governs the policiesâ€Ÿ interpretation with respect to the Indiana site and California law with respect to the California site) as held by the Court of Appeals or "uniform" (whereby a single stateâ€Ÿs law governs) as argued by both parties. But while agreeing that the interpretation should be uniform, the insurance companies argue that Maryland law applies; the insured argues for Indiana law.
The uniform approach has long been Indiana law and we reaffirm it here. Under that approach, we find that Maryland is the state with the most intimate contacts to the facts and that its law should therefore be applied to resolve this dispute.
As of December 29, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court opinion can be found here