Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., (“Munich”) moved to sever its suit against cedent Utica Mutual Insurance Company (“Utica”) from Utica’s suit against Transatlantic Reinsurance Company. Utica sought enforcement of reinsurance policies issued to it by both reinsurers, and sued the reinsurers together to avoid removal of the claims against Munich to federal court, according to Munich. The trial court granted Munich’s motion to sever and Utica appealed.
New York’s appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order because it agreed with the trial court that the cases lacked commonality. The court noted that although the claims against both defendants related to insurance payments made by plaintiff to the same insured for asbestos-related losses, defendants had no relationship to one another, and the claims arose from different reinsurance contracts, were triggered by different underlying umbrella polices, and involved different time periods. Moreover, the court continued, defendants asserted different affirmative defenses, and a finding of liability against one defendant would not impact the liability of the other.
Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. American Re-insurance Co., No CA 15-00408 (N.Y. App. Div., 4th Dep’t. Oct. 9, 2015).