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Appalachian Ins. Co. v. General Elec. Co – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Appalachian Ins. Co. v. General Elec. Co., 8 NY3d 162, 863 N.E.2d 994, 831 N.Y.S.2d 742 (2007), a manufacturer claimed that for purposes of exceeding annual per occurrence primary insurance policy limits to access excess insurance proceeds, it could group together as a single occurrence numerous personal injury claims arising from the exposure of individuals to asbestos insulation in turbines at work sites across the country.

The Court held that "in the absence of language indicating some other standard should be applied for the purpose of grouping incidents into a single occurrence, the unfortunate-event standard governs the outcome." Id. at 173.

The Court noted that "several factors emerge as relevant to distinguishing injuries or losses that arise from a single occurrence as opposed to those that constitute multiple occurrences: whether there is a close temporal and spatial relationship between the incidents giving rise to injury or loss, and whether the incidents can be viewed as part of the same causal continuum, without intervening agents or factors. Common causation is pertinent once the incident--the fulcrum of our analysis--is identified, but the cause should not be conflated with the incident."