Vermont Court Lets Home Insurer Off the Hook in Pesticide Lawsuit

December 17, 2015

A Vermont family who said their home was made unlivable by an exterminator who used a banned pesticide has had their lawsuit against an insurance company overturned.

Neil and Patricia Whitney said a foster child brought bedbugs into their home in 2012 and that the state hired an exterminator. But they say the exterminator used excessive amounts of a prohibited and possibly dangerous pesticide.

The Rutland, Vermont, family last year settled a separate lawsuit with the state for $450,000.

They sued their insurance company (Vermont Mutual) after it said the contamination fell under a pollution exemption and refused to pay damages.

A judge initially ruled in the family’s favor, but Vermont Public Radio reports the state’s high court reversed the ruling on Dec. 11, saying the damage was an excluded risk in the policy.

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