Sherwin-Williams' insurers attempted to "shirk their coverage responsibility” by claiming their commercial general liability policies don't cover public nuisance claims, according to Sherilyn Pastor, an insurance recovery partner at McCarter & English in Newark, New Jersey and author of a amicus brief filed on behalf of the Product Liability Council and the National Association of Manufacturers. Credit: Bigstock Sherwin-Williams’ insurers attempted to “shirk their coverage responsibility” by claiming their commercial general liability policies don’t cover public nuisance claims, according to Sherilyn Pastor, an insurance recovery partner at McCarter & English in Newark, New Jersey and author of a amicus brief filed on behalf of the Product Liability Council and the National Association of Manufacturers. Credit: Bigstock

As the Ohio Supreme Court mulls whether insurers have a duty to indemnify Sherwin-Williams Co., after the paint maker and others were held liable in a $409 million public nuisance case over lead paint, attorneys on both sides warn of the potential broader implications of the forthcoming decision.

The Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments on appeal by certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of London after the state’s Eighth District Court of Appeals denied summary judgment to the insurers. In a 2-1 majority, the state appellate court held that Sherwin-Williams’ commercial general liability policies, which cover “damages” for specific property and bodily injury that the insured neither expected nor intended, could cover underlying public-nuisance claims brought by California public entities.

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