Armstrong Cleaners, Inc. v. Erie Insurance Exchange
United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
364 F. Supp. 2d 797 (2005)
Erie Insurance Exchange (Erie) (defendant) provided liability insurance to Armstrong Cleaners, Inc. (the Armstrongs) (plaintiffs). The Armstrongs were defendants in a multi-defendant groundwater-contamination lawsuit filed by State Farm. The Armstrongs submitted the lawsuit defense to Erie under their insurance contract. Erie accepted the defense but reserved its rights on four grounds: a blanket reservation of coverage; a reservation based on the policy definition of occurrence; and reservations based on the policy exclusions for pollution and for expected or intended acts. The Armstrongs filed a declaratory-judgment action against Erie seeking a ruling that Erie’s reservations of rights caused a conflict of interest, and that the conflict entitled the Armstrongs to select an independent attorney to be paid by Erie. Both Erie and the Armstrongs filed summary-judgment motions.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hamilton, J.)
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