Articles Posted in Agriculture Law

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Fred and Tina Preisler operated a dairy farm and raised cattle. The Preislers hired Kuettel’s Septic to apply septage, which is primarily composed of human urine and fecal material, to their farm fields. The Preislers subsequently experienced problems with their well water. The Preislers sued Kuettel’s Septic, other defendants, and their insurers, alleging, among other claims, negligence in storing and in applying septage resulting in nuisance and trespass. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the insurers, concluding that a pollution exclusion clause precluded coverage for harm resulting from the Preislers’ water supply’s contamination. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that “a reasonable insured would understand that decomposing septage is a ‘contaminant’ and therefore a ‘pollutant’ as defined in the policies when it has decomposed and seeps into a water supply.” View "Preisler v. Kuettel's Septic Serv., LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2011, Robert and Jane Falk spread liquid cow manure onto their farm fields for the purpose of fertilization. The manure leeched into and contaminated the wells of the Falks’ neighbors. Wilson Mutual Insurance Company, the Falks’ insurer, filed a declaratory judgment motion claiming it did not have a duty to defend or indemnify the Falks against allegations that they negligently spread manure on their property and thereby polluted their neighbors’ wells. The circuit court granted the motion, concluding that the Wilson Mutual policy issued to the Falks contained an exclusion for pollution and that manure is unambiguously a pollutant. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that manure is not a pollutant because, to a reasonable farmer, manure is “liquid gold.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the pollution exclusion in the policy unambiguously excludes coverage for well contamination caused by the seepage of cow manure. View "Wilson Mut. Ins. Co. v. Falk" on Justia Law