California court rejects Motiva insurance claim stemming from 2017 refinery fire

A California state appeals court on Monday denied Motiva Enterprises' request for insurance coverage for a settlement with workers injured in a 2017 fire at its 607,000-bpd Port Arthur, Texas refinery.

In a decision on Monday, a panel of the California Court of Appeal said it agreed with a trial court's conclusion that the workers had been abating asbestos, and that the relevant insurance policies did not cover the accident.

Motiva had been seeking coverage from insurers of Excel Modular Scaffold and Leasing Corp, the contractor hired to abate asbestos at the refinery, the nation's largest.

One crew member died of severe burns and his supervisor suffered serious injuries in the August 2017 fire.

The supervisor and relatives of the crew member later sued Motiva in Texas for the company's alleged negligence. After settling, Motiva filed an action in June 2018 seeking indemnification from Excel’s insurers.

The case is Motiva Enterprises LLC v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Co et al, California Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate District, Nos. A159229, A159231, A159233.

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