Written Assignment: Draft a Memo
Write a 4 page paper, addressing the following scenario. Please write in full paragraphs and sentences, using details and analysis to support your answers.
Mr. and Mrs. Turner own an apartment building on East 158th Street in Queens, NY. They live in one of the apartments and rent out the other three units in the building.
Mr. and Mrs. Cavanaugh rent one of the apartments. The Cavanaughs have a 4-year-old son named Jason. Jason had not been feeling well, so the Cavanaughs brought him to his pediatrician.
After a battery of tests, it was determined that he had high levels of lead in his system. Testing of the paint in the Cavanaughs’ apartment confirmed that the paint used in the apartment was old and included high levels of lead. The Turners had taken out a commercial general liability coverage insurance policy (“the policy”) with the Youngston Insurance Company for their property on East 158th Street. The policy, which was purchased prior to the Cavanaughs moving into the apartment, is still in effect. The policy has a general pollution exclusion but does not specifically list lead paint as pollution. The language of the exclusion discusses injuries caused by “discharge, dispersal, release, or escape of pollutants.”
The Cavanaughs have filed suit against the Turners. The Turners notified the insurance company of the lawsuit, anticipating that Youngston Insurance would defend them and indemnify the Cavanaughs if the Turners were found liable.
Youngston contacts your attorney, Ms. Smart, to look into this matter. There are numerous questions that Acme, the adjusting firm assigned to the case, has posed to Ms. Smart. She, in turn, has handed them over to you as a research project.
Your ultimate product will be a memorandum of law answering the following questions:
- Does the insurer have a duty to defend? If so, on what grounds?
- If the insurer must defend, will the insurer need to indemnify? If so, explain why.
- What should the insurance company do to avoid having a duty to defend or indemnify these types of cases in the future?