PA Supreme Court Refuses to Extend Multiple Trigger of Coverage Beyond Asbestos Disease Cases

In Penn National v. St. John, 106 A.3d 1 (Pa. 2014), the insured negligently installed underground plumbing for St. John’s dairy farm such that waste water infiltrated a clean water system, slowly poisoning the dairy herd. St. John observed the deleterious effects on his dairy herd during the first of Penn National’s three consecutive liability policy periods, though cause of the harm (the underground leaks) was not discovered until the final policy period. Penn National, represented by Michael P. McKenna, contended that only its policy in effect during the “first manifestation” of harm provided coverage to the exclusion of its subsequent policies, regardless when the cause was discovered and whether the harm had continued. The trial court, the Pa Superior Court, and the PA Supreme Court agree, refusing to extend J.H.France Refractories multiple or continuous trigger of coverage beyond asbestos-related disease cases.