Insurers win legal battle against Trump Tower

Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower has lost again.

The property in Chicago has been dealt another setback as an Illinois appellate court upheld a previous ruling, stating that the property’s insurers are not obligated to defend against a state lawsuit concerning alleged pollution in the Chicago River, Crain’s reported.

The legal battle began in 2018 when the state of Illinois filed a lawsuit against Trump International, claiming that the building’s water-intake system was emitting pollutants into the river without a permit.

In 2021, Continental Casualty, a subsidiary of CNA Financial, filed a lawsuit, alleging that Trump’s insurance policy did not cover the violations mentioned in the state’s complaint. ACE American Insurance, Illinois Union Insurance and QBE Insurance later sued the company for similar reasons. Pollution exclusions were part of these insurance policies, the outlet reported.

“All of the insurance policies provided coverage for ‘property damage’ which was caused by an ‘occurrence’ during the policy period,” the recent ruling says. “An ‘occurrence’ was defined under each policy as ‘an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.’”

In September 2022, a trial court determined there was no “occurrence” as defined by the policies.

This ruling follows a series of lawsuits against the Trump International property. In July, the environmental groups Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River revealed their plans to sue the Trump Organization for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. It would be the groups’ second lawsuit filed against the company in five years.

— Quinn Donoghue

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