However, this is not the case in Pennsylvania. In general, Pennsylvania law provides that a continuous injury trigger should never be applied to a property damage case. Where there are two or more insurers involved, the duty to defend and indemnify falls solely on the insurer whose policy was in effect when the manifestation of damages occurred. This is known as the manifestation theory. The exception to the manifestation theory in Pennsylvania is bodily injury arising from toxic materials. In Coregis Insurance Company v. City of Harrisburg (2006) the court stated: The multiple trigger theory has been adopted in very limited circumstances, such as asbestosis, where the injuries caused by exposure do not manifest themselves until a substantial time after the exposure causing the injury. Courts have justified use of a multiple trigger theory of liability in such cases due to the long latency period of the injuries caused by asbestosis and similar disease, and concern that insurers facing numerous future claims would terminate coverage. Devon International, Devon International Industries and Devon International Group (Devon) imported
Chinese drywall from China, which they sold to several distributors in the United States. The drywall was defective as it contained high amounts of sulfur. Devon was hit with numerous lawsuits in various states, including Pennsylvania. As is common with Chinese drywall cases, the plaintiffs alleged the sulfur emitted by the drywall damaged their real and personal property. Devon forwarded the claims to their CGL insurer, Cincinnati Insurance Company, seeking defense and indemnification under the CGL policies issued by Cincinnati for two consecutive years. Cincinnati accepted the claims, but the parties disagreed as to whether the claims were covered by both policies or by one policy only. If these claims had been filed in Maryland, Delaware, Alabama, Mississippi or in most any other state, Cincinnati would probably have to provide coverage under both policies under the continuous injury theory. However, on February 15, 2013, in Cincinnati Insurance Company v. Devon International, Inc., a Pennsylvania federal district court held that, for the purposes of insurance
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coverage, the shipment of the defective drywall from China constituted one occurrence, and the occurrence took place when the damage caused by the drywall manifested itself in the homes and buildings of the plaintiffs. This decision is based on Pennsylvania law, and the good news for insureds (bad news for insurers) is that the majority of Chinese drywall cases are located in jurisdictions where Pennsylvania law will not apply. The CGL now addresses continuous injury or damage in the Insuring Agreement of the policy. Once the insured has knowledge of any injury or damage, then any change, continuation or resumption of that same injury or damage which occurs after the policy period will be deemed to have occurred during the policy period in which the insured first had knowledge. This is referred to as the known injury or damage provision. However, if the injury or damage is ongoing, but not discovered for several years, the continuous injury theory will most likely apply in most states. Not Pennsylvania, except for bodily injury resulting from toxic materials. Yâ€™all take care!