Georgia Federal Court Rules Insurer Owes No Coverage for PFAS Water Pollution
January 27, 2023 (Atlanta, GA) – A Georgia federal court ruled that Hawkins Parnell & Young's client does not owe coverage to a thermoplastics recycling facility in a proposed class action of approximately 100,000 residents alleging water pollution. The underlying case involves the release of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, into Georgia waterways that supply drinking water.
Evelyn Fletcher Davis and Rob Gilbreath of Hawkins Parnell successfully argued that the commercial general liability policy issued to the recycling facility provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage except for injury or damage arising from the discharge of pollutants. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg agreed that the policy was unambiguous, ruling that Hawkins Parnell's client has no duty to defend or indemnify the recycling facility in the underlying suit due to the policy's total pollution exclusion. The judge also granted the insurer's motions for default judgment against the facility and summary judgment against the lead plaintiff in the underlying class action.