Bankruptcy Stay Applies to Direct Actions against Insurers in “Limited Circumstances” where Numerous Asbestos Claims are Pending

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana, October 19, 2022

The plaintiffs brought a wrongful death and survival action for damages related to the death of their decedent in 2019. Decedent had a forty-five year career as a welder in the marine industry which was alleged to have resulted in his exposure to asbestos. The plaintiffs sought damages from numerous defendants, including Decedents former employers, owners of work sites, asbestos manufacturers and distributors who were alleged to have provided products to decedents worksites, and insurers. …

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Plaintiffs’ Judgment Covered in Part under Excess Policies, Subject to “All Sums” Allocation

Supreme Court of New York, Monroe County

Meissner v. Ridge Constr., Inc., 2022 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 310

After obtaining a jury trial verdict of $8 million on November 19, 2019, in an action for asbestos exposure in 1970-71 resulting in mesothelioma against Ridge Construction, Inc., a former subsidiary of Eastman Kodak, the plaintiffs filed an action under New York Insurance Law § 3420 (the coverage action) in an effort to collect the judgment under three excess insurance policies issued by certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of …

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Court Declines to Apply Efficient Proximate Cause to Negligent Disturbance of Asbestos in Construction

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, December 14, 2021

An insurance coverage dispute arose out of an action by Northshore School District against Beresford for a construction project in which Beresford allegedly improperly and negligently disturbed asbestos-containing materials requiring extensive remediation, cleaning, and repairs.

Beresford tendered its defense to Travelers, which denied there was any defense and indemnity coverage based upon asbestos exclusions but agreed to provide a defense under a full reservation of rights. Travelers subsequently conceded that Northshore potentially made …

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Plaintiffs Win Summary Judgment, Recover Judgments from Excess Insurers that Previously Settled or Bought Back Policies

The plaintiffs, seeking payment of judgments entered against a supplier of raw asbestos fiber to employer of the plaintiffs’ decedents under New York Insurance Law § 3420 and a declaration that insurance companies’ transfer of insurance funds to the supplier constituted fraudulent conveyances in violation of New York Debtor Creditor Law, filed several actions against defendant insurers. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment seeking dismissal, and the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment on New York Insurance Law § 3420 as to all defendants and …

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Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Grants Motion to Stay as to All Parties Where Insurer for Certain Defendants Declared Insolvent

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 15, 2021

In an action by the plaintiff, former employee of a shipyard, for injuries related to asbestos inhalation and subsequent mesothelioma, the shipyard’s insurer moved to stay all proceedings due to the insurer’s being placed into liquidation in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania as a result of insolvency.

Bedivere Insurance Company, which included by merger Lamorak—the insurer for the several defendants in the action—was declared insolvent and placed in liquidation in March 2021. The …

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Executive Officers Considered Employees for Co-Employee Exclusions

Louisiana Court of Appeals, First Circuit, April 9, 2021

The plaintiffs brought suit on behalf of deceased against a number of manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos containing products allegedly causing asbestos-related lung cancer. The plaintiffs amended to add Arrowood Indemnity, successor of an insurer which issued a policy to Stone & Webster which was in effect from January 1, 1965 to June 2, 1971.

Arrowood moved for summary judgment asserting that the CGL policies contained employee exclusions which precluded coverage to Stone & Webster for …

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Federal Court Declines to Enjoin Receiver from Pursing Coverage Claims and Defenses in Receivership Court

U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, March 1, 2021

The issues before the court arise from an insurance coverage action in which the parties disputed the rights and obligation of Covil under a policy allegedly issued to it and whether injuries in underlying asbestos actions are within the products and completed operations hazard of the policies, as well as the proper method for allocating injury across multiple policy years.

The action was initially filed in state court by the appointed receiver for …

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Court Declines to Find Coverage in World War II Era Asbestos Claim

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, January 22, 2021

This case is an insurance coverage dispute between plaintiff Cosmopolitan Shipping Co., Inc. and defendant Continental Insurance Company regarding claims made against Cosmopolitan by seamen exposed to asbestos on its ships in the 1940s. The policy at issue was unable to be located, apart from three endorsements. An evidentiary hearing was conducted to determine whether the policy provided coverage and what the terms of coverage were.

In September 2017, Cosmopolitan settled 47 …

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Insured’s Liability for Defense Costs Not Appropriate for Interlocutory Appeal

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, November 16, 2020

This case follows an opinion and order by the same court regarding resolution of the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment. The opinion and order affixed liability on Danaher and Atlas Copco for costs incurred by Travelers in defending certain asbestos and silica related bodily injury claims. Danaher and Atlas Copco moved for leave to file an interlocutory appeal, and North River (NR) moved for partial reconsideration, leave to file an interlocutory appeal, …

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Federal Court Holds Underlying Policies Exhausted by Settlement; Grants Summary Judgment to Insurer on Excess Policy Reinsurance Claim

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, October 19, 2020

An insurer and its reinsurer were involved in a dispute over the reinsurer’s liability to reimburse a portion of a settlement that the insured had allocated to an excess liability policy subject to a contract of reinsurance. The insurer had issued three excess liability insurance policies to Asarco Inc., as part of a “coverage tower,” sequential layers of insurance Asarco purchased as part of its annual insurance program. The reinsurer reinsured the …

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