Blank Rome Secures Significant Settlement for General Cable and American Premier Underwriters in Case Brought by Housing Authority for the City of Los AngelesFebruary 2017
Blank Rome's environmental litigation and insurance groups secured a significant settlement for General Cable and American Premier Underwriters, successfully concluding a nearly six-year case brought by the Housing Authority for the City of Los Angeles over a 21-acre industrial site in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. The Blank Rome team strongly leveraged the Firm’s West Coast environmental resources and Firm-wide capabilities to obtain this successful result.
The Housing Authority purchased the site, knowing it was contaminated, as part of an effort to revitalize the neighborhood with a mixed-use residential and commercial development that will eventually replace the infamous Jordan Downs housing project. In the course of that work, a five-million dollar remediation estimate ballooned to over $31 million, and the court made a number of unfavorable rulings that placed General Cable and American Premier Underwriters in line for successor liability for the old, now-defunct industrial operators. All of the potential insurers initially denied coverage based on the Owned Property Exclusion.
Just two weeks before trial, the Blank Rome team was able to successfully convince the Housing Authority to settle claims regarding not just the industrial site but also claims for any environmental contamination on the entire neighboring Jordan Downs property for just $12 million, and consequently was able to secure the participation of several primary and excess insurers in the settlement. The settlement culminated with a final settlement agreement with the Housing Authority, which was negotiated and executed in tandem with multilayered negotiations among the clients and their insurers regarding the insurers’ participation in the settlement.