Caufield & James, L.L.P Caufield & James, L.L.P

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Finding Old Dry Cleaner Insurance Policies

As properties continue to be redeveloped and sold in the current market we are seeing an increase in the number of lawsuits involving properties that had historical dry cleaning operations. In most instances, contamination is discovered on the property during the redevelopment and/or sale of the property. As the contamination costs money to cleanup and impacts the ability to sell and/or redevelop the property, parties frequently sue the former and/or current dry cleaning operators for the cost to cleanup the property. Depending on the amount of contamination and the area where the dry cleaning is located, the cleanup costs can run from relatively small amounts to well over $1 million. A challenge for both the parties suing other parties and/or the parties being sued is locating historical insurance policies that may provide coverage for the claims. Many times the former owners of the dry cleaners have not kept their old policies, their broker is no longer in business and they don't have a recollection as to whom they purchased their insurance from. Thus, finding the old policies presents a challenge and requires the expertise of someone experienced in locating old insurance policies and how to identify potential insurers that may have provided coverage.

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