I Can't Believe Its Not Butter: How Many Deductibles Apply to Claims Involving a Butter Like Substance

Here’s a tasty little tidbit for you insurance coverage junkies out there. Law.com has this interesting article on a ruling as to the number of deductibles that apply to suits alleging lung injuries from the flavoring used in manufacturing microwave popcorn. As the article explains, a New York state appeals court has found that the “supplier of the buttery substance used in microwave popcorn must pay a minimum $50,000 deductible for every worker at a Missouri plant who successfully asserts a claim that the flavoring caused lung problems or other respiratory ailments.” The issue before the court was whether certain policy language in the manufacturer’s insurance policies, which stated that the policies’ deductibles applied per occurrence, meant that one deductible applied to all such claims or instead one deductible applied to each such claim. As the article lays out the court’s reasoning, the court found that the structure of the policy language led naturally to the latter interpretation. Determining the number of claims or occurrences, including for purposes of determining how many deductibles apply, is a common problem in insurance coverage law, one that is oft litigated. The article’s presentation of the court’s reasoning suggests that the court approached this issue in an entirely appropriate manner, as it focused on the actual policy language used to reach its determination.