On September 9, 2010 the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Meagher & Geer’s client, Scottsdale Insurance Co., by affirming an order holding that the policy’s pollution exclusion released Scottsdale from its duty to defend and indemnify its insured, a chemical manufacturer, in underlying litigation involving allegations that the insureds’ herbicides (2,4-D) destroyed crops.

In May 2007, more than 80 cotton farmers sued a group of manufacturers in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleging the manufacturers’ herbicides containing dichlorophenoxyacetic acid drifted off-target and damaged cotton fields in five Arkansas counties. The complaint — which asserted state law claims of strict products liability, deceptive trade practices, negligent design and breach of implied warranty — sought compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs from the herbicide manufacturers.

Meagher & Geer partner Rob Salmon presented the oral argument. Partner Katherine McBride wrote the appellate brief. Associates Dorothy Paxton, Jenny Sautter and Erin Doran assisted at the district court level.

The subject case is:  Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. Universal Crop Protection Alliance LLC, case number 09-1774, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Additional information about the case, and the appellate court’s order can be found at Law 360°, the Newswire for Business Lawyers.