Recently, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania gave policyholders another victory in the continuing battle with insurers over application of the “multiple trigger” doctrine. In Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co. v. Johnson Matthey, Inc., the Commonwealth Court held that the multiple-trigger approach – which expands the number of policies potentially available to provide coverage for long-tail liabilities – can be applied to claims involving environmental contamination, rejecting another attempt by the insurance industry to limit application of the doctrine in Pennsylvania. Significantly, the court held that in determining whether the multiple-trigger approach will apply, the critical factor is whether the underlying injury involves a long latency period between the initial exposure to the injurious condition, and the ultimate discovery (manifestation) of the resulting injury or damage. Although the decision arises in the context of coverage for environmental contamination, its reasoning represents a sweeping rejection of recent attempts by the insurance industry to limit application of the multiple trigger to asbestos-related injuries.
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