New York Federal Court Refuses to Apply Viking Pump Without First Receiving Briefs From Parties U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, December 21, 2016
Columbus McKinnon Corporation (CMCO) sued Travelers Indemnity Company and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company alleging that insurance policies issued to CMCO obligate them to defend and indemnify CMCO with respect to thousands of lawsuits filed against CMCO for personal injury allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured and sold by CMCO and its predecessors.
CMCO sought leave to file an expedited motion seeking to compel Liberty Mutual to pay 100 percent of CMCO’s defense costs in the underlying lawsuits based on the New York Court of Appeals’ recent decision, In re Viking Pump, Inc., 52 N.E.3d 1144 (N.Y. 2016). In that decision, the New York Court of Appeals held that certain policies containing non-cumulation provisions obligate the insurer to pay 100 percent of defense costs. CMCO sought to apply the ruling in an expedited motion because the relevant language in Liberty Mutual’s policies was substantially identical to the language at issue in Viking Pump. An expedited motion essentially would have forestalled argument from Liberty Mutual regarding its obligation to pay defense costs for the underlying actions.
Liberty Mutual argued that factual differences required fuller briefing on interpretation of the policies and how Viking Pump would apply. The court agreed with Liberty Mutual and denied CMCO’s request to file an expedited motion.