AES Corp. v. Steadfast Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
Kivalina, a native community located on an Alaskan barrier island, filed a lawsuit (Complaint) in a California district court against The AES Corporation, a Virginia-based energy company, and numerous other defendants for allegedly damaging the community by causing global warming through emission of greenhouse gases. Steadfast Insurance, which provided commercial general liability (CGL) to AES, provided AES a defense under a reservation of rights. Later AES filed a declaratory judgment action, claiming it did not owe AES a defense or indemnity coverage in the underlying suit. The circuit court granted Steadfast's motion for summary judgment, holding that the Complaint did not allege an "occurrence" as that term was defined in AES's contracts of insurance with Steadfast, and that Steadfast, therefore, did not owe AES a defense or liability coverage. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Kivalina did not allege that its property damage was the result of a fortuitous event or accident, but rather that its damages were the natural and probable consequence of AES's intentional actions, and such loss was not covered under the relevant CGL policies.