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OCCIDENTAL CHEM. CORP. v. AMERICAN MFRS. MUT. INS.

February 10, 1993

OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.


MARTIN, JR.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN S. MARTIN, JR.

JOHN S. MARTIN, JR., District Judge:

 When is a trunnion not a kiln? This riddle, which has plagued not a single man or woman throughout the ages, is nonetheless the crux of these cross-motions for summary judgment.

 Plaintiff Occidental Chemical Corporation ("OCC"), a division of Occidental Petroleum Corporation ("OPC"), operates a chemical plant in North Carolina. In June, 1983 defendant American Manufacturers' Mutual Insurance Company ("American Manufacturers") issued an accidental insurance policy to OPC which covered OCC (the "Policy"). The Policy, entitled a "General Boiler and Machinery Policy," insured "Objects" as defined in Endorsement No. 117:

 Definition of Object

 "Object" shall mean any boiler, any fired or unfired vessel normally subject to vacuum or internal pressure other than static pressure of contents, any refrigerating system, any piping with its accessory equipment, and any mechanical or electrical machine or apparatus which generates, controls, transmits, transforms or utilizes mechanical or electrical power, but

 Object shall not mean or include

 . . .

 3. Any structure, foundation or setting (other than a bed plate of a machine) supporting or housing such Object; or any oven, kiln (including bull gear) or furnace or any insulation or refractory material;

 In or about January, 1983, while the Policy was in effect, damage was sustained to the trunnion assemblies associated with the No. 3 Kiln in OCC's North Carolina facility. To put the dispute into context, a brief discussion of kilns and trunnions is necessary.

 OCC's kiln is what is known as a "rotary kiln," which involves a long, narrow cylindrical tube (240' x 15' in diameter, in this case) which rests at a slight incline and in which substances are heated as they slide down the tube. Because the tube is designed to rotate, the kiln requires a motor, which turns the cylindrical tube through a gear system. The gear attached directly to the rotating tube and which transfers the motor's force into rotation of the tube is known as the "bull gear."

 Further, because an item of this size and shape which must rotate can hardly rest on the ground or simple supports, mechanisms to support it while allowing it to rotate freely are required. The cylindrical tube is encircled in three places by rings, also known and better visualized as "tires." These tires, in turn, rest on trunnion assemblies, or trunnions, also known as support rollers, which provide counter-rotating rollers to enable the cylindrical tube to rotate freely; in a rough analogy, the system resembles a hot dog rotating on a grill with rollers at a sports arena. See Exhibits A, B to Affidavit of Gilbert O. Rabbe (diagrams of trunnion assemblies); see also Exhibit 3 to Affidavit of Andrea I. Balsamo (pictures of trunnion assemblies).

 The parties are in agreement that the value of the damage, exclusive of interest, is $ 387,864.00. *fn1" The main question presented on these cross-motions for summary judgment is ...


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