A court has granted two unopposed petitions to confirm two arbitration orders under the New York Convention, in what was a dispute over documentation requirements of a forty-year old asbestos claims reinsurance agreement between Century Indemnity Company and certain London market reinsurers (LMRs). The first arbitration order required one of the LMRs to post letters of credit to secure Century’s then-outstanding claims. While the panel initially entered the order in 2006, the letters of credit were subsequently addressed in another order by the panel in 2008. The second order, entered in 2007 and made final in 2009, related to the panel’s findings on the merits of the reinsurance agreement’s documentation requirements. The court found that both orders were “necessarily incorporated” in the respective 2008 and 2009 orders, and were thus timely under the New York Convention’s three-year statute of limitations. In confirming the first order, the court explained that although it technically was not a final award (which is a requirement for jurisdiction under the Federal Arbitration Act), it was “sufficiently separate and final for federal court review and confirmation.”
Also noteworthy was the court’s denial of Century’s motion to strike, which argued that portions of the LMR’s petition contained gratuitous assertions that violated the parties’ confidentiality agreement and were intended to be a “press release for use in other matters.” The court found that the language at issue was related to the underlying controversy, that the panel’s orders were made public in the court record, and that “the mere fact that the parties ha[d] designated certain documents as confidential among themselves is insufficient to rebut the ‘strong presumption of public access to court records’ that exists in federal courts.” Century Indemnity Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, Case No. 1:11-cv-01040 (USDC S.D.N.Y. Jan. 10, 2012).