City of South Portland v. Maine Municipal Association Property & Casualty PoolAnnotate this Case
In 2014, the City Council of South Portland enacted an ordinance prohibiting the bulk loading of cure oil on marine tank vessels in South Portland. In 2015, the Portland Pipeline Corporation and American Waterways Operators (PPLC) sued the City of South Portland and its Code Enforcement Officer in federal court, arguing that the ordinance was unconstitutional. The complaint requested only nonmonetary relief. The City notified the Maine Municipal Association Property & Casualty Pool (Pool), which provides liability coverage to the City and its public officials, of the lawsuit and requested a defense, which the Pool declined to provide. The City then brought this action alleging breach of the duty to defend. The superior court granted summary judgment for the Pool, concluding that the Pool had no duty to defend because the complaint requested only declaratory and injunctive relief, not damages, and therefore, there was no potential that the City could be liable for damages within the scope of coverage. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed on different grounds, holding that the Pool had no duty to defend because any potential damages would be excluded from coverage.