Liberty Mutual is not responsible to defend Murphy Oil against a $25 million lawsuit charging that a refinery purchased by Valero in 2011 was sold in a condition that directly resulted in a crude unit fire the following year, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week.
The court ruled that the district court did not err in granting Liberty summary judgment because the statute of limitations on any tort action by the purchaser had expired before the suit by Valero. Any remaining liability by Murphy is not covered by its general liability policy.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported in 2012 that a fire broke out in a crude unit of the former Murphy Oil refinery at about 1:45 a.m. on July 22 and was extinguished by 7 a.m. No injuries were reported.
Beside the fire, Valero is suing Murphy to be indemnified against Environmental Protection Agency fines for 2011 and 2012. In total, Valero is seeking nearly $52 million from Murphy.