Articles Posted in Minnesota Supreme Court

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Appellants hired Respondent as the general contractor to build a seasonal residence on Appellant's property. Respondent purchased a general liability insurance policy from Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Company that included an absolute pollution exclusion. Respondent later purchased a boiler for Appellant's home that bore a label warning that the boiler was designed to run on natural gas only. Respondent connected the boiler to a liquid propane line. Appellants were later transported to hospital due to carbon monoxide poisoning from the boiler. Appellants brought litigation against Respondent. Midwest initiated a declaratory judgment action, requesting that the district court find Midwest had no duty to defend or indemnify Respondent because coverage was barred under the absolute pollution exclusion. The district court denied Midwest's motion for summary judgment, concluding that it would be inappropriate to rule as a matter of law that the absolute pollution exclusion barred coverage under the facts in this case since Respondent did not cause any environmental pollution. The court of appeals reversed, holding that carbon monoxide constitutes a pollutant in the Midwest policy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that carbon monoxide released from a negligently installed boiler is clearly a "pollutant" that is subject to the absolute pollution exclusion of the Midwest policy. View "Midwest Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Wolters" on Justia Law