The Missouri Supreme Court has unanimously held a pollution exclusion to apply in a dispute between a lead smelting company and one of its insurers. Doe Run Resources Corporation faced litigation alleging that its smelting operations caused pollution that injured various plaintiffs. Doe Run sought defense costs from St. Paul Fire and Marine which denied any duty to defend because of its policy’s pollution exclusion. Doe Run asserted that the exclusion was ambiguous because it did not specify lead as a pollutant and did not apply because the underlying complaints alleged harm from its commercial lead products and not any pollutant. The trial court agreed and found for Doe Run. On appeal, the state Supreme Court rejected Doe Run’s positions, saying “lead, in particulate form, is clearly excluded under the policy.” Declining to “create an ambiguity in order to distort” the policy language, the Court also held that the “effect of the pollution exclusion is clearly to proscribe the types of claims raised in the” underlying lawsuits, which alleged injury caused by contamination from operational releases of toxic substances and not from any Doe Run product.
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