Environmental Coverage Disputes Lawyers

San Francisco Attorneys Fighting Environment Claim Denials Throughout California and Nationwide

Pillsbury & Coleman, LLP has helped clients resolve environmental-related insurance disputes for our California clients involving contaminated water, oil spills, asbestos, benzene, PCPs, silica exposure, arsenic, and other contaminants.

Our work in this area focuses on a select group of cases in which the insurance carrier contends that there is no coverage because there is no property damage to the property of others. We have been very successful in working up these cases to show that coverage does, indeed, exist and must be paid.


For example, in Vann v. The Travelers Insurance Companywe won a $26.5 million bad faith verdict against Travelers Insurance Company for our client, the former owner of an auto repair shop who was sued for allegedly causing environmental damage to the property he had leased for nearly 30 years.

The insurance company first denied there was ever any coverage. After admitting there was a policy, they inundated him with burdensome and harassing requests for information that our 70-year-old client was unable to respond to. The insurance company improperly claimed Mr. Vann didn’t have coverage and refused to hire a lawyer to defend him.

We proved that the insurance company had intentionally adopted a manner of handling environmental claims that were intended to deprive individuals such as Mr. Vann of insurance protection.

One of the largest punitive damage verdicts in the country in 1997, the award included $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. The Travelers appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which denied review and the verdict was upheld. With accrued interest, The Travelers Insurance Company was forced to pay Mr. Vann more than $30 million.


If your firm is involved in an environmental insurance dispute, please call our office at (415) 433-8000 or send us an email for a free case evaluation. From offices in San Francisco, we represent clients throughout California.