Client Alert

| March 21, 2012

Recent Reinsurance Decisions on Invited Error and Evident Partiality

California Appeals Court Affirms Jury Verdict, Finding That Cedent “Invited Error” As To Reinsurance Statute of Limitations Instruction

A California appeals court has upheld, under the “invited error” doctrine, a jury verdict in favor of a reinsurer on statute of limitations grounds. The dispute centered upon whether claims on a reinsurance policy arising from the cleanup costs for groundwater contamination were commenced timely by the cedent, Transport Insurance Company (“Transport”). Transport insured Aerojet-General Corporation (“Aerojet”) under a liability policy issued in 1973, and that same year entered into reinsurance contracts with predecessors to TIG Insurance Company (“TIG”) and Seaton Insurance Co. (“Seaton”). Importantly, the reinsurance contracts at issue each provided that losses would be paid upon receipt of “proof of loss.”

Second Circuit Holds Arbitrators’ Non-Disclosure of Concurrent Service in Related Arbitration Is Not “Evident Partiality” Under the FAA

Recently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals resolved the issue of whether the failure of two arbitrators to disclose their concurrent service in a related arbitration constituted “evident partiality” under § 10(a)(2) of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), which permits vacatur of an arbitral award upon such a finding. The district court had granted a petition for vacatur of an arbitral award on this basis, finding that arbitrators’ concurrent service in a proceeding that overlapped in time, shared similar issues, involved related parties, and included a common testifying witness, indicated a material conflict of interest requiring disclosure. Reversing the vacatur and ordering confirmation of the award, the Second Circuit set forth a clear test for evident partiality that it determined had not been satisfied in this instance.

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