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Boeing Co. v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co.

Washington Supreme Court
784 P.2d 507 (1990)


Facts

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) held those who release hazardous substances into the environment liable for costs incurred by state or federal government to remove the substances. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cleaned up a hazardous waste facility and notified Boeing Company (plaintiff) that Boeing was liable for the response costs under CERCLA. Boeing had a comprehensive general-liability insurance policy from Aetna Casualty and Surety Company (defendant). The policy stated that Aetna would cover all amounts that Boeing became obligated to pay “as damages.” The term “damages” was not defined in the policy. Boeing sued Aetna, claiming that the response costs the EPA was seeking from Boeing constituted “damages,” coverable under Boeing’s policy with Aetna. Aetna argued that the response costs did not constitute “damages” but were restitution. The question was certified to the Washington Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dore, J.)

Dissent (Callow, C.J.)

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