Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Longview Port Suing for Cleanup Cost Recovery

A jury trial is scheduled to begin next February in a lawsuit the Port of Longview has filed against its insurance companies over the cost of cleaning up two contaminated sites that the port wants to redevelop.

The sites are a former International Paper Co. creosote plant, which was used for treatment of wood products on about five acres of land; and a rail line at the port’s west end, where an underground pipe leading from a storage tank to Berth 1 leaked bunker fuel decades ago.

The contamination, which was discovered in the late 1980s, is expected to cost millions of dollars to clean up. The port filed a claim with its insurance carriers in 2009.

About 20 different insurance companies, all operating under the British insurance exchange Lloyd’s of London, are listed as defendants in the case.

Attorneys argue the insurance exchange shouldn’t be responsible for damages caused decades ago by other industries, according to court filings. They also say the insurance companies should not be on the hook for high cleanup costs.

A jury trial is scheduled to start Feb. 4, according to Longview-based publication The Daily News, and last two weeks before Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning.