News & Insights

Reversing a lower court ruling, the Colorado supreme court, in Michigan States Mutual v. Roinestad held that injury claims resulting from an 8′ grease clog were barred by the pollution exclusion in general liability policy.  The insured restaurant caused the clog by dumping a substantial amount of grease into a sewer over an extended period of time.  The plaintiffs suffered injuries when they were overcome by hydrogen sulfide while cleaning the clog in the sewer near the restaurant. The court held that the discharge of cooking grease amounted to a a discharge of a pollutant, falling within the purview of the policy’s pollution exclusion.  The court rejected the lower court’s view that the application of the pollution exclusion to a common everyday waste product could lead to absurd results and negate essential coverage.

Mountain States Mutual v. Roinestad